A team of supervillains in The DCU, there have been several incarnations of the Secret Six, with the current team created by Gail Simone and Dale Eaglesham. This incarnation is made up primarily of villains who are cooperating for personal and commercial reasons, working as a team to commit crimes and perform services for an exorbitant fee.This version of the Six first turned up in Villains United #1 (July, 2005), fighting against the Society of Supervillains. After all, just because they are all evil does not mean they get along. They had a mini-series (Six Degrees of Devastation) before finally getting their own monthly title. The series was cancelled as a part of the New 52 relaunch and replaced by a reboot of the Suicide Squad featuring a few key members, such as Deadshot and King Shark, and Tremor reappears in Simone's new comic The Movement.Ragdoll recently appeared in Gail Simone's Batgirl comic, along with a nod towards Scandal, Knockout, and Liana Kerzner.Has a character sheet.
Catman's father was an abusive wife-beater who forced his son to shoot a tied-up lioness who was nursing a cub in order to make him a man. He ultimately planned to kill his wife and frame Catman for the crime. Catman later accidentally shot his mother while trying to defend her from a murder attempt by his father, who then tried to frame Catman for it. It didn'twork out too well for him.
Scandal's father is Vandal Savage, an immortal cannibal conqueror who tried to have her raped by a sexually depraved midget. The clawed weapons she wields were given to her by him in order to continuously remind her of her dead mother, who Vandal threatened to murder if she failed his physical gauntlet. When she was ten. Lampshaded by Catman when, while fighting Vandal Savage, he notes to Scandal that he is amazed that her father is an even bigger bastard than his father.
Deadshot's mother manipulated his brother into attempting to murder their father, who apparently deserved it.
Ragdoll's father is a child-molesting cult leader who likes to mutilate himself.
Bane's dad is a blind, arrogant crime lord named King Snake, the alias of one Sir Edmund Dorrance. While working as a mercenary he got Bane's mother pregnant...and left the two of them to languish in prison to serve out his life sentence. Said prison, as you may gather from the fact that it let that happen in the first place, is a notorious hell hole and Bane only survived by becoming the biggest and meanest evil bastard in the whole place.
Action Girl: Plain and simple, the women of this series will mess you up.
And I Must Scream: The punishment Catman's father receives in hell: Every day, Catman's mother (Now a lioness with a human face) devours and excretes him, with him being conscious and aware the whole time. His body then reforms itself, so he can go through it again. For Catman's mother, her role is a reward rather then a punishment.
And Your Little Dog Too: In issue 35, an hour-long beating doesn't convince the Penguin to go along with Bane's plan; it's when Ragdoll threatens to feed his pet penguins to King Shark.
Issue 24 seems to imply that all the characters secretly wish to atone, even though many continue to act in a despicable manner throughout the series. An Elseworlds issue, it ends with the characters wishing that, even if only this once, they could have been the heroes.
Bane was this in his own messed up way. When he found out that, because the world does not conform to his own particular sense of right and wrong he was apparently going to hell, he decided to give up on being the Atoner and do what he had originally wanted to: Conquer Gotham and break the Batman.
Ax-Crazy: Bane's pretty much the only one who doesn't regularly display these tendencies. You know your team has a problem when a man whose entire childhood was spent fighting for his life in one of the world's worst prisons is the only consistently level-headed and emotionally stable member.
Don't bring up Scandal Savage's dad or do anything to remind her of him. Just don't do it. You'll be very lucky to still be in one piece if you make him enter her mind. Actually, that's probably the easiest way to piss Scandal off, given that she is definitely the most Ax-Crazy of the team and has a ridiculously short fuse, and being insane.
And speaking of Scandal, don't hurt her or even threaten her in front of Bane. Remember what he did to good 'ol Bats? He'll do that to you. Seriously, don't fuck with Scandal in front of Bane.
Finally, do not threaten Catman's son. DO. NOT. DO. IT. While the rest of the team will either shoot you, slice you up, cave your head in, or rip you apart if you piss them off, Catman will make it slow. VERY slow. If you're lucky, you'll escape with either part of your face missing or four new assholes. You probably won't be lucky, however.
Bilingual Bonus: As his slave-based prison island collapses around him, Smythe bemoans the death of his "beautiful dream". This is the rough translation of the French-named "Belle Reve" prison headquarters of the Suicide Squad, from where the Six's secret benefactor Amanda Waller acts.
Jeanette, who is currently in a relationship with Deadshot, was involved with Scandal long ago. According to Gail Simone they still love one another and care about each other deeply, but they have accepted that they are simply not right together.
Gail Simone had said during the series run that one of the male members was bisexual. After the series ended she revealed that it was Catman and that as soon as she gets to use him in a book again she will bring it up, since the original story got Cut Short by the relaunch.
Bittersweet Ending: Catman's son is still alive and has been adopted to a loving family and his kidnappers have all been killed, but Catman is unlikely to ever see him again and he tells Jade that their son is dead to keep her from looking for him. Most of the team has overcome their own personal problems and the team has successfully rescued Liana. But in the end Bane led the team into an unwinnable situation so he could 'rid himself of responsibilities for others' and everyone on the team gets captured by heroes, with the text indicating that many of them have broken bones at best.
Black and Grey Morality/ Evil Versus Evil: The Six may not be saints, but the people they have fought have included a Society of Villains set out to mind rape superheroes and conquer the world, a sociopathic immortal cannibal, a sadistic poison obsessed assassin, a midget misogynist rapist, and the Nightmare Fuel incarnate Junior. The Six are bad, their foes are worse.
Black Comedy: Violence and killing is often played for laughs in this book. The whole sequence with Deadshot and Catman shopping for ice cream at the beginning of the Unhinged arc, especially the part where Deadshot keeps casually ribbing Catman about his lovelife while a thug levels a gun at his head, highlights the humor that is inserted into theoretically life-or-death situations.
Break the Haughty: Tried multiple times on multiple members of the team. Ends exceptionally badly, every time.
Breather Episode: Immediately after the extremely dark "Cats in the Cradle" storyline we get the stand-alone issue "Predators," which chronologically takes place before the previous story and is pretty much just 22 pages of the Six kicking ass.
Brother-Sister Incest: Heavily implied to have gone on between the second Ragdoll and his sister Alex aka Junior. And that is the LEAST disturbing thing about the family. Ragdoll's home life was sort of like "I love Mallory" from Natural Born Killers. Only with a less caring father.
The Cameo: Issue #7 of the ongoing series features an extremely gratuitous (but awesome) appearance from the Birds of Prey, a team that Gail Simone famously wrote before the Secret Six. Inexplicably, the roster shown there did not at all match the one used by then-current writer Tony Bedard, swapping out Manhunter, Misfit and Infinity for Grace Choi.
Carnival of Killers: Multiple teams of killers have been assembled with the intention of taking down the Secret Six.
Cast Full of Gay: A minor example, but of the main cast there's a lesbian woman (Scandal), two bisexual women (Jeanette and Kay / Knockout) and one, possibly two bisexual men (Catman, confirmed by Word of God and King Shark, who doesn't object when someone asks if he's dating Aquaman).
Catman mainly uses knives and claws, but he has been known to wade into combat with a tire iron, a frozen pint of Butter Brickle ice cream, or even his teeth.
Deadshot is not above running people over a car. When Yasemin, a former Turkish gunrunner that is now working for Amanda Waller, fails in an assassination, everybody explains that Deadshot would not have failed. For her own pride and to prove her skill, Yasemin later challenges Deadshot himself when the Suicide Squad is attacking the Secret Six in order to re-recruit him. She explains that, on the count of three, they will draw and fire to see who is the better shootist; he shoots her before she even finishes talking. Over her body he explains "You take the shot you have."
The Comically Serious: Bane. Trying to be fatherly to a grown woman by talking to her like she is five years old is only the start of it. Not to mention his attempt to comfort an actual five year old, which did not go so well◊.
Continuity Nod: Knockout's murder occurred in Birds of Prey, and was used as a significant plot point in the first Secret Six storyline.
Giganta's boyfriend, Ryan Choi, was killed by Deathstroke in the Titans: Villains For Hire series. Since Giganta was serving on the same team as Dwarfstar, the man who paid to have Ryan iced, she seduced and apparently tortured Dwarfstar after taping him up.
This itself was later followed up on in Titans, where Dwarstar was shown in a hospital. Ray Palmer explicitly mentioned the incident with Giganta in order to taunt Dwarfstar.
Crazy-Prepared: When Deadshot tells the story of when he first fought Batman he gets to the climax of the encounter, when he had Batman dead to rights at point-blank range, and says he shot Batman right in the chest. Batman, however, did not die as planned and then disarmed and apprehended Deadshot. The priest whom Deadshot is speaking to asks for clarification. Did Deadshot miss? Did the bullets bounce off Batman? No, Deadshot explains that the answer is actually scarier than a person able to dodge bullets or withstand gunshots: Batman had gotten to his gear before the fight and replaced his bullets with blanks.
Ragdoll. Most of the time he is a wacky, freaky contortionist who is capable but eccentric and mainly spouts nonsensical and/or creepy one liners. But when he hears that Smyth has ordered the deaths of his team mates? He BEATS A WRENCH INTO HIS SKULL and stands over his twitching body calmly noting he's a "Very bad man". We should also mention coming to Black Alice's rescue in issue #19.
Mad Hatter, who is dismissed as borderline useless for his love of "hat crimes". Then the team gets its ass handed to them by the Doom Patrol, and Mad Hatter takes THEM down on one page with such merciless ease that the Six are sufficiently disturbed to instinctively stop him.
Dark Action Girl: Plain and simple, the women of the Six will seriously @#$& you up.
Dating Catwoman: In a gender switch Catman has this relationship with Huntress which Deadshot commented on as, "It's the closest thing you can get to doin' it with Batman."
Destructo-Nookie: Scandal and Knockout had a habit of demolishing the hotels they stayed in.
Do not touch the Hatter's hat, you will pay by the finger.
Never try to interrupt Junior on the phone. Seriously. Do not do it. Whoever you need to call, it can wait.
Downer Ending: Issue 24 is a non-continuity Elseworld story that has characters from the Six in a Wild West setting. They face off against a gang of thugs and crooks led by a Wild West version of Junior. Expecting them to win? They are not that lucky.
Duct Tape for Everything: Scandal uses duct tape to tie up and gag Pistolera after she tries to assassinate Knockout. Giganta later duct-tapes Dwarfstar's mouth shut to keep his screams from alerting the other Sixers while she tortures him. Ragdoll later uses duct tape to tie up and gag Bumblebee from the Doom Patrol, whom he wants to take home as a "souvenir".
Dysfunction Junction: Scandal's father is Vandal Savage, the first murderer. Catman's father was a big game hunter who was a complete and utter bastard to everything and everyone around him. Ragdoll's father was an abusive cult leader. Jeanette was raised in the household of mass murderer Countess Erszebet Bathory. Bane spent his childhood in one of the hardest prisons in the world. Deadshot's parents hated each other so much, his mother hired his brother to kill his father - and Deadshot accidentally killed his brother trying to stop him. Black Alice's mother died of a drug overdose, and she brought her back as a zombie. The Six give a whole new meaning to the word "dysfunctional".
Elseworlds: Issue 24 is a non-continuity story that has characters from the Six in a Wild West setting. They face off against a gang of thugs and crooks led by a Wild West version of Junior. Expecting them to win? They are not that lucky.
Even Evil Has Standards: Weird, strange, and difficult to hold on to, but standards nonetheless....except for Cheshire. It seems to be what sets the Six apart from the villains they fight, as Vandal Savage, Junior and Smyth certainly do not have standards of any kind.
For a specific example, Scandal tells the Mad Hatter to back off when he tries to mind-control Elastigirl into eating Beast Boy.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Parademon. Also the Lowlies, until we learn one's name (Insignificus, the only being in fiction more wretched and boot licking than Waylon Smithers).
Evil Counterpart: Catman started off as a criminal version of Batman, complete with catarangs and Catmobile. A crossover with Battle For The Cowl features Catman and Bane, both of whom have in their own ways tried to replace Batman at some point in their career, discussing why they never could. Also, Ragdoll comes along for the ride, vowing to become the new Robin.
Eye Scream: The Six seem to be one of the few villain teams to realize just how vulnerable the eyes are:
In the original Villains United mini-series, Catman threw dozens of syringes into Captain Nazi's eyes and face.
The leader of the Zyklon-B Boys, a white supremacist gang who are stupid even for skinheads, makes the mistake of TWICE trying to take down the Six. The first time Catman cuts out one of his eyes (He clearly has a fetish about Nazis and eyes). The second time? Deadshot gives him some symmetry. He does not have to suffer from it for long though, as Jeanette puts him out of his misery.
Scandal gives Grendel a case of this as well.
Catman outdoes himself in the finale of "Cats in the Cradle." He BITES OUT Eric Wallace's eyes and tears off a good chunk of his face while he is at it.
In "The Reptile Brain" story arc, Ragdoll rips out King Sharks eye.
Fanservice: The characters get naked pretty often. Particularly in the first pages of #5 of the mini, where pretty much all of the Six are naked, from Knockout to Catman and Deadshot to Mad Hatter. Also Bane, for those who are into bears. The only character who has not been at least partially naked by this point is Ragdoll.
Full-Frontal Assault: Oh, so much. Catman's flashbacks, Junior, Bane... the author has admitted to enjoying seeing how many ways she can get her characters naked.
Genius Bruiser: Gail Simone has remembered that Bane is also a criminal genius, and he is starting to regain this status rather than being simple brute strength.
Goofy Print Underwear: #11 gives us a look at the characters' nightclothes, and among others Scandal wears polka dot boyshorts while Ragdoll has a pair of yellow footie pajamas, complete with buttflap.
Goth Girls Know Magic: Black Alice is a Goth-styled anti-hero with the ability to effectively steal the powers of any magical being and temporarily use them as her own.
Great White Hunter: Catman's father was one of these. He was also an abusive asshole who believed that A Real Man Is a Killer to the point that he forced his son to kill a tied up and tranquilized lioness.
High Turnover Rate: Before getting their ongoing series the group had a hard time maintaining six members.
Homoerotic Subtext: Catman and Deadshot, which everyone up to and including Simone has noticed, and Simone describes the subtext between them as being like "a neon sign", and given that we now know that Catman is indeed bisexual was probably intentional. Nicola Scott, one of the artists who worked on the book, also gleefully drew a fan a picture of Catman and Deadshot in bed together.
Scandal has a healing factor and determination spawned by her immortal father Vandal Savage; she does not stop until she wants to stop.
Catman's Cats in the Cradle story-arc features him simply moving forward through all opposition without even being slowed down.
In Name Only: The current Secret Six has nothing in common with the original Secret Six from the Silver Age except for the number of members and a mysterious leader called "Mockingbird". However, it has surpassed the original in pretty much every way.
Ironic Echo: "Let it sink in or you'll never get through this."
Jumping Out of a Cake: The rest of the Six hire a stripper dressed as Scandal Savage's dead girlfriend Knockout to hide in a cake and give her a lapdance on her birthday to cheer her up, but Scandal is too drunk to really realize what is going on (plus Knockout seems to possess the stripper for a moment to tell her to be happy).
Knife Nut: Dwarfstar, whose very first act after joining Bane's new Secret Six team is to ask him how many women he has killed. Given that his teammates include Lady Vic, Jeanette and Giganta, Dwarfstar is probably going to get "fragged". Violently. Instead he is seen hospitalized after being tortured by girl #3 for killing her boyfriend.
Mr Smyth. He wants to make the world a better place, and he thinks the best way to do it is to lock ALL the world's criminals in a prison where murder and rape are common occurrences, feed some of them to a shaggy haired demon who is the child of the First Murderer, and return slavery to the world....hey, we never said he was sane, just determined.
Amanda Waller wants to police the world and take down bad guys, it is just that her methods of doing so vary from Morally Grey to Morally Black-As-Night territory.
Lamarck Was Right: Scandal is tough to kill, attributing that to her father's side of the family. Considering her father, Vandal Savage, has been around since the dawn of mankind it is not surprising.
When Deadshot is puking after being poisoned by Cheshire, he narrates to himself, going on randomly about angels... and then asks the person helping him if he said that stuff about angels aloud. He is assured that he did not, and remarks that he worried about narrating out loud.
Ragdoll does this in a few issues as well, most noticably in issue 29, a crossover with the Lex Luthor Action Comics storyline where he spends the issue talking directly to the reader. He even begins his narration by referring to things that happened in "that other book."
Luke, I Am Your Father: More like "Ragdoll, I am your sister", but still. Well, he knew it, the readers (and everyone else) did not.
Man Bites Man: Almost everyone on the team has bitten someone at some point. To date; Scandal has bitten off a villain's ear, Bane has torn out a mook's throat, Ragdoll has bitten a man to death after locking up his power armor and Jeanette has bitten off three of a serial killer's fingers and Catman...well, look at the trope's page image. King Shark's special abilities are specifically noted as "Chewing and Biting".
Manipulative Bastard: Their original leader, "Mockingbird" (AKA Lex Luthor). Also the current "Mockingbird" (Amanda Waller).
Marked Change: Jeanette gets Prophet Eyes, black marks on her face, deathly white skin and black streaks in her hair when she uses her banshee powers. We would tell you to run when you see that, but by then it is already too late.
Mugging the Monster: Some skinheads try to rob the convenience store Deadshot and Catman are getting ice cream from. Deadshot seems more pissed about how they pull off the mugging rather than that they were doing it in the first place: "You don't respect me? FINE. But you will &* !$ing respect the GUN!"
Name's the Same: The head of the group that kidnapped Catman's son is named Erik Wallace. Meanwhile, the writer of a recent Teen Titans series where Ryan Choi, the Atom, a character Gail created, dies in a particularly gruesome manner was written by a guy named Eric Wallace. According to Gail, she had never even met Eric Wallace and this was a total coincidence, given how far in advance Gail's issue was written and how Ryan's death occurred very recently, making the entire thing Hilarious in Hindsight.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Green Arrow thanks Catman for the heads-up on the Society's plan. Catman decks Green Arrow for pushing the villains by brainwashing villains who learn too much to the point where something like the Society is even possible.
Nightmare Fetishist: Scandal, Parademon, Jeanette, Deadshot (sometimes) and definitely Ragdoll. We can add Black Alice to the list, being the first known person to find Ragdoll hot (well, in-universe, anyway).
Ragdoll: "Yes. I understand. You're one of those. One of those enemies who think I am only adorable, and not a threat to be measured more carefully. A joke, a jester, a 'jape in jammies. Do you know how many of those people are corpses now, Scandal Savage?"
Catman and Deadshot are both fairly certain they are going to end up killing each other one day. Other than that they get along well.
Later lampshaded by Ragdoll, when he comments that the two should just accept their relationship instead of thinking they're going to kill each other someday.
Off The Wagon: Bane references this trope by name when he uses his venom to save Scandal.
Our Banshees Are Louder: Jeanette. She was betrayed and her husband had her decapitated. The execution was botched, and she 'found the banshee' as she waited to die. As a banshee, she is immortal, superstrong, has a sense for death and possesses a scream that can seriously screw up those who hear it.
Power Creep, Power Seep: The Mad Hatter's gimmick is hypnotizing people through various devices, usually some type of head gear or hat card. Of course, his effectiveness depends on him actually getting his gizmos on his targets. In Secret Six, he's able to mess up the Doom Patrol just by pointing at them. The series doesn't explain exactly how he did this, whether he's improved his technology or somehow picked up actual mind controlling powers.
Powered by a Forsaken Child: When Mirror Master was still on the team, one of the Six's mission involves breaking into a unspecified Southeast Asian dictatorship's power plant. It's run by a child emitting considerable power. They remove him, destabilizing the autocratic regime, but Mirror Master leaves the child alone in the Mirror Dimension.
Punk in the Trunk: Jealous that he was not invited, Ragdoll hides in the trunk of Deadshot's car while he goes out on a date with Jeanette. Unfortunately, he forgets to leave the lid open and begins suffering from delusions due to the lack of water and oxygen.
Raised by Wolves: Catman lived among a pride of lions, being fully accepted by them and learning from them.
Slap-Slap-Kiss: Cheshire attempts to enact this after she and Catman fight in the second mini and earnestly offers to make love right in the middle of the battlefield. Catman is understandably freaked out, is horrified to find that he is actually considering it, and pointedly turns her down.
Speech Bubbles: Ragdoll has a pretty, cursive font for his bubbles, while everyone else has more normal speech.
Spiritual Successor: To the Suicide Squad. They share a member (Deadshot) and a similar theme of bad guys acting as (sort of) good guys. The connection was solidifed with a "crossover" between Secret Six and Suicide Squad (through a one-issue resurrection of the title as part of Blackest Night), and with long-time Squad scribe John Ostrander doing a couple of guest issues on Secret Six.
Squick: In universe, Catman finds the fact that Jeanette is technically dead and sleeping with Deadshot to be highly squick-y. Deadshot, naturally, is not that bothered by it (And who can blame him?)
On at least one occasion, Ragdoll says something so disturbing that it prompts Deadshot of all people to voice his concerns.
Deadshot: Ragdoll, please don't tell us these things.
Stupid Sexy Flanders: Judging by the responses to a question about who the hottest male member of the Six is, some otherwise straight men feel this way about Catman. It's alright, we understand.
Take That: The controversial Titans tie-in to Brightest Day involved the villain Dwarfstar hiring Deathstroke to kill Ryan Choi, a character Gail Simone co-created with Grant Morrison, and whom she wrote almost all the adventures of. As payback, Gail wrote a scene in issue #28 where Giganta hospitalized Dwarfstar by way of torture.
Taking You with Me: Parademon detonates his collection of Mother Boxes at the end of Villains United. In a tragic twist, while many, if not all their attackers survive, he perishes.
After the Zyklon-B Boys manage to survive an encounter with Deadshot and Catman, having been viciously beaten and then lectured, they decide to deliberately antagonize Deadshot in order to exact revenge. The thug who was following Deadshot is discovered and Deadshot, having promised not to kill anybody that night (he was on a date), rips out his eye, having already ripped out his other eye when the two first met. Now completely blind, the thug still persists in his plan for revenge, and the rest of the gang gathers in force. By now they have been beaten and mutilated on two separate occasions, so they are simply asking for a Darwin Award: after Deadshot beats them again, his date kills the lot of them, explaining that she did not make any promises for that night.
The first team of mercs sent to kidnap Catman's child has a member who is this personified. Confronted by Cheshire offering to surrender he gets close to her, planning to rape her. Bear in mind that Cheshire is known throughout the DCU as one of the most lethal assassins to walk the earth and has a reputation as having once murdered a country full of people (something that only Black Adam and the Spectre can also claim) yet the merc gets close enough to allow her to bite his lips off and infect him with a powerful fast acting poison. Distracted by the Sexy may apply here given she was half naked but still, that is whole new levels of stupid.
Dwarfstar also qualifies after he puts out a hit on Giganta's boyfriend; when she finds out, the results are not pretty.
Randall, being a bigot and misogynist was already obviously a total moron. He earns his Darwin Award when, faced by a team of costumed SUPERVILLAINS he decides to threaten them. With a normal gun. After going into a tirade insulting them and a friend of theirs. Needless to say it doesn't end well for the little dumb-ass and he ends up getting a lovely bit of Eye Scream courtesey of Scandal's blades.
Too Kinky to Torture: Parademon enjoyed Granny Goodness' torture and Ragdoll gets off on being beaten up. How he gets off, given he castrated himself, is probably a question best not answered. In fact, any question about Ragdoll is probably one you do not want the answer to.
True Companions: Issue #34 absolutely confirms the Six as this. They're a freaky, dysfunctional family, but they are a family.
Ugly Cute: Ragdoll, whom Black Alice finds cute in universe.
The Unseen: Mockingbird as of the "Depths" story arc. Smyth was working for him/her, but Mockingbird himself/herself was absent, though mentioned. Turns out it is Amanda Waller, although the Six did not know that at the time.
Villainous Crossdresser: Ragdoll once took the opportunity to try on parts of Wonder Woman's costume. He very clearly enjoyed it.