Monday, April 19, 2010

A Somewhat "For Profit" Model: Secret Six

A while ago, I spoke about the questionable actions of Marvel's Mercenary character, Deadpool, in terms of his actual profession. You see, Deadpool is ostensibly a mercenary who performs contract jobs for profit. But recently he's been fighting monkeys and trying to be like Spider-Man (somewhat unsuccessfully I may add) instead of mercenarying. Yes I just coined that word.

So rather than deal with his somewhat problematic life views, I thought I would discuss a mercenary group that actually does mercenary work for profit. Kind of, sometimes, maybe. The Secret Six.

Cover art from Secret Six #1, art by Cliff Chiang


Secret Six is a group composed of several quasi-villains (at the moment: Catman, Deadshot, Bane, Ragdoll, Black Alice, and a Banshee) who accept all those dirty jobs that pop up in the DC universe and do what they need to. Kind of like the A-Team with less morals and more dismemberment. Anywho, the Secret Six started off pretty well by accepting a paying job to protect (quite literally) a "get out of hell free" card which would save an individual from eternal damnation if they held the card in their possession. This worked out fairly well, until they decided to destroy the card because it was too dangerous to be in the possession of the vile individuals who sought it (including the vile individual who was paying them to get it).

Then the Six were hired to protect an experimental prison, until they eventually felt the prison was immoral and decided to free the captives. One of the few jobs I can remember them actually completing was breaking a murderer out of jail, but only so the father of one of the killer's victims could have personal revenge. The Secret Six start out well when the go on a mercenary mission. They try to actually perform mercenary tasks for profit. And they usually almost complete their assignments. But then, at the final moment, one of the Six usually has a pang of conscience and brings whatever evil plan they are being paid to complete crashing down.

And why do I bring this up you may ask? Well, I bring this up because, like Deadpool, the Secret Six are very poor at doing what they are paid to do. Are they vicious? Yes. Are they organized? Somewhat? Are they entertaining? Assuredly. Do they actually complete any job they set out to? Nope. Morals stand in their way. And this makes the Secret Six a compelling read and makes the characters themselves somewhat sympathetic in an anti-hero sort of way. But this also makes the organization of Secret Six a very poor for-profit model.

If I were a character in the DC universe and I was thinking of employing a mercenary team for a dastardly deed, I'm afraid I would need to look elsewhere for help. In fact, I think I would need to file a grievance with the Better Business Bureau regarding Secret Six.

This is of course assuming that there is a Better Business Bureau in the DC Universe. And assuming that said bureau polices the quality of villainous mercenaries. But you get the idea.

17 comments:

Chakat Firepaw said...

Sounds to me like they are advertising to the wrong market. If they were to aim their services to people who's desires are a lighter shade of grey they'd probably be a highly desired set of contractors.

algeya said...

at least lobo gets the job done.

Andrew TSKS said...

Reminds me of the way Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe character never seemed to get paid for the jobs he was hired for (often due to pangs of conscience or sympathy). Literary critics have since wondered how Marlowe was actually paying his bills, considering the fact that he never seemed to make any mony.

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