JL_23-4-Secret-Society_1SECRET SOCIETY 1
Writers: Geoff Johns & Sterling Gates
Artist: Symon Kudranski
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool)

Opposites are hard to play. Anyone who has written an issue of BIZZARO has my deepest sympathies trying to keep the double negatives turned positives straight. SECRET SOCIETY takes us a sojourn over to EARTH 3 so we can learn, not necessarily the origin of The Outsider (aka Earth 3 Alfred Pennyworth) and Owl Man, but more how the two became inexorably intertwined.

I’ll be honest, I’m a skeptical man, so many of you will no doubt have a better time imbibing the “bad is good is, good is bad” flip-flop that Earth 3 presents us with in this issue. It’s more than just a shifting of East and West. There’s a definitive love between Alfred and Thomas Wayne, but I ask if love could even exist on such a world and if so wouldn’t you rather be hated than loved if all is opposite. See what I mean about this being hard?

Essentially, we learn that Alfred is the one responsible for killing the Wayne parents, and I think Thomas Wayne has a brother Bruce, but I’m not sure since he was really just a mention. Also, The Joker is a present force of…good…in the Owl controlled Gotham. We find that Owl Man had a partner in Dick Grayson, but that partner has also been tidily chopped into tiny boxes wrapped in Christmas paper by The Joker in hopes to throw Owl Man off his omnipotent perch.  My question becomes this, The joker is supposed to be a symbol of anarchy, but I guess on Earth 3 since anarchy is good a Joker is never wild, but simply a standard card like the 4 of clubs. Right?

Confusion aside, the issue does close with a little peek into the fucked up dynamics of the Secret Society. This is a necessary book, simply for the fact we’ve been hit with over thirty issues over the last few weeks and we’ve only really seen the SS (hehe) in FOREVER EVIL 1. While certainly not the brunt of the issue, we do get some insight into the team dynamic. Towards the end of the issue time flash forwards and Alfred takes us out of Gotham with his narration to show Owl Man and Super Woman getting busy behind Ultra Man’s broad back, plus we learn why the team is so interested in our Earth. Apparently Darkseid is a bad ass invader on every known parallel earth.

While the issue would have been better served being called THE OUTSIDER or OWL MAN from a real-estate perspective, while I was confused in part by the nature of human emotions being played as opposites and while I was a little unsure how a Joker type would survive in a world where capital punishment is a matter of course I really did enjoy this issue. My only complaint was that Gates and Johns were too constrained by page count to let some explanatory moments breathe a little bit. The art more than made up for it though, as Kudranski shows some real chops setting a creepy pall of darkness without “smelling the glove” too much.

This is an essential for FOREVER EVIL and the entire villains month.