John Ostrander returns to Secret Six this week, paying homage to "The Most Dangerous Game" while giving it a supervillain twist.
"Some rich creeps think it would be fun to play that game using supervillains," Ostrander explained, "but ones they consider 'low grade.' And the creeps have technological weaponry that, they think, makes them superior. No one will miss this group of villains. So they think.
And how do the members of the Secret Six react to being hunted?
"They get pissed off. Really bad idea, pissing off any of these people," Ostrander said. "Really really bad idea doing it to them as a group."This one-issue story in Secret Six #23, which is drawn by R.B. Silva, isn't the first time Ostrander has appeared as a guest writer for the series by Gail Simone. And according to the writer, he's been asked in the past to have stories "on reserve" for fill-in issues.
"It’s generally a good idea for most titles to have a fill-in issue waiting in the drawer for any point that the schedule needs," the writer explained. "Gail has been very generous about letting me do that as has the editor, Sean Ryan. Gail’s so great – good person and wonderful writer. The secret to doing a fill-in story is to make sure it can stand aside of current continuity in the series, tell a story in a single issue, and not disturb the status quo while, at the same time, telling a bang up story on its own. Hopefully, I’ve done that."The writer, who's probably best known to DC readers for his time on Suicide Squad, admitted he likes writing the characters in Secret Six, and thinks they work so well because they get all the best lines.
"They’re bad guys. Bad guys always have the best lines," he said. "They don’t have to do the 'right thing' or the 'moral thing' or the 'honorable thing.' As Gail has said, the Six don’t always like each other and that’s fun as well. I’m just pleased that Gail has let me play in her sandbox this much and I hope that she, and her fans, will like the current offering."
The story in Secret Six #23 follows some shocking events in the "Cats in the Cradle" arc that just ended, but the writer said things aren't going to get any easier for the Six. And as the team members are faced with extinction at the hands of hunters, Ostrander explores just how "dangerous" they can be."[The story focuses] on how dangerous each member of the Six is by themselves," he said. "Some might not think Ragdoll all that dangerous – but he is. If each individual is dangerous then when they can work as a team, it means they are all that much more dangerous."
Ostrander said one of the best things about the Secret Six is that they're somewhat isolated from the rest of the DCU, so they can grow and evolve over the course of the stories. "It’s always more fun to me to play with characters that adapt and change and grow, whether it’s here on Secret Six or my own books like Star Wars: Legacy or Grimjack," he said. "Don’t get me wrong – I always enjoy when I can play with Batman or, say, Wolverine or Spider-Man. But playing with characters like in Secret Six is always great."As Newsarama readers may remember, Ostrander struggled last year with glaucoma, and Simone led an effort by creators to help him get needed surgery. Ostrander's surgery has since been completed, saving his sight, although not necessarily improving it.
"So far as I know everything is as it should be," he said. "The surgeries were never intended to give back my sight – just keep it from eroding further."Besides his work on Secret Six, the writer is winding up Star Wars: Legacy for Dark Horse along with his collaborator, Jan Duursema -- a run that ends with Issue #50.
"We’re then working on another project or two that I can’t discuss openly at the moment but that will be real cool," he said. "Over at Marvel, I’m collaborating on a project called The Heroic Age: One Month to Live that I believe is going to be really good. I’m writing it with Rick Remender, Rob Williams, and Stuart Moore; I have issue #4. While we’ve been writing our own issues, we’ve been back and forth a lot in e-mails with each other and our editor, Steve Wacker. I’m really proud of how this one is coming together and I think people should be on the watch for it. I think it’ll be out weekly in September."