I’ll just come right out and admit it. This month, I’m phoning it in. No, I’m not so lazy that I link the Great Fables Crossover entry that I wrote for the Countdown to Fables #100, though I did think about it. This month I’m just taking on a simple 2 issue crossover that was a small piece of a larger story. Let me explain. In mid-2010, right after Blackest Night finished, Paul Cornell took over writing duties on Action Comics with issue #890. The story arc he wrote during this time was called “The Black Ring.” In it, Lex Luthor went around the world, trying to find globes of Black Lantern power. During this quest, Luthor came into contact with various villains in the DC Universe. This crossover deals with when he came into contact with Vandal Savage and the Secret Six.
Issues: Action Comics #896 & Secret Six #29
Writers: Paul Cornell & Gail Simone
Artists: Pete Woods & Marcos Marz
Luthor hired the Secret Six to rescue him should the need arise. And since it was an absurdly high amount, they accepted, even though they’re still unhappy thinking about how he “created” the group. So, they go to rescue him, but find out that they’re rescuing him from Vandal Savage, Scandal Savage’s father. Vandal is trying to kill Luthor because of he believes it will fulfill some ancient prophesy that will bring him happiness. Needless to say, lots of fighting ensues. During the fighting, Luthor’s robotic Lois Lane starts opening fire on everyone, but Vandal destroys her when she comes close to hitting Scandal. In the end, everyone is unable to catch a detonator that is set to detonate bombs in the building.
The detonator lands button side down, partly depressed, so they now have 60 seconds before the bombs detonate. Luthor and Vandal continue their argument, but it ends when Luthor reveals that the gum he started chewing actually created a protective bubble around him. He tries to get Vandal to deactivated the bombs by threatening Scandal, but the button is stuck. Luthor agrees to let everyone else into his bubble if Vandal admits that he was beaten by Luthor. He does, so everyone gets into the bubble right before the explosives detonate. The bubble with everyone in it is launched from the building, but is slowed by Black Alice, who conjured up a baseball glove. Having recovered from their crash landing, the fighting resumes when Vandal won’t serve Luthor, so Luthor has robot Lois try to kill Scandal. They come to a standoff, where Luthor and Vandal agree to negotiate, and Scandal punches Luthor and quits.
Unfortunately, these brief summaries don’t do these two issues justice, because so much of the entertainment quality of them come from the dialogue, and not from what is going on. This crossover was my first real exposure to Secret Six. Sure, I had read the Villains United mini-series, but I didn’t follow up with the team when they had their own mini-series. (Which I just happened to have purchased and read recently.) I would also recommend reading all of Cornell’s “The Black Ring” story.