In February, two teams who operate on the fringe of the DCU will get a rematch in a crossover between Doom Patrol and Secret Six.
If there were a subtitle for the crossover, it might be "Mash-up of the Misfits."
The two-issue story starts in Doom Patrol #19 by Keith Giffen, then finishes up in Secret Six #30 by Gail Simone, with both issues scheduled for release on February 2nd. The issues will be drawn by regular series artists Matthew Clark and J. Calafiore, respectively.
Secret Six, the ongoing series that eventually emerged after its origins in Simone's Villains United, follows the story of a team of mercenaries with varying levels of morality. The group is held together by a shaky bond as they operate outside the normal supervillain network, and they often emerge as heroic despite their lawlessness.
Launched by Giffen last year, Doom Patrol revived the concept of a team of alienated heroes working together under the leadership of Dr. Niles Caulder, or "The Chief." But as readers know, the team recently experienced some upheaval, as Veronica Cale has taken over leadership of the gang of misfits.
Newsarama caught up with Giffen and Simone to talk about the crossover, and to find out more about what's coming up in Secret Six and Doom Patrol.
Nrama: How did this all come about? Keith, are you a fan of Secret Six?
Giffen: I’m a fan of Secret Six. I’m a fan of Gail’s writing. Besides, I was thinking it was overdue for the Doom Patrol to have some kind of a DCU presence. I scouted around which characters would be interesting, which characters we kind of neat. And Secret Six was the most natural fit.
And you know, I do have a motive behind choosing the Secret Six too, because I believe the Doom Patrol bumped up against the Secret Six before and did not do well. They kind of got their asses kicked. I want a rematch.
Simone Well, to be fair, the Six did cheat a little. OK, a lot.
For me, this was easy stuff. I'm a huge fan of Keith's; I read pretty much every book he does. There was a period in my comics reading where nearly every cool thing at DC had Keith's name attached in some way. So this is one of those situations, like working with Steve Gerber or John Ostrander, one of the writers who is not just brilliant, but also a true original. You can't turn those things down, at least I can't.
And there's something kind of wonderful about DC's biggest freakshow teams clashing that I can't resist, either. My fondness for the B-listers of the DCU is pretty gargantuan. There's just something about the Doom Patrol that sets it apart from the more mundane superhero stuff. It always has that slightly implosive quality that I really love.
Nrama: So how did you two end up talking about it? Was DC receptive?
Giffen: I mentioned it to Liz [Gehrlein], the editor, and she seemed to go for it. She contacted Gail, and Gail and I have always wanted to work together on some project or another, and I guess this is close enough.
Nrama: Are you two kind of co-plotting it together and then writing your individual issues?
Simone: We have a plot and it's a bit swingin', it's something really fun and a little bit sly and not at all polite. It's got a bit of James Bond cool in it, but from the villains' point of view. It's completely out of its time, which is what I love about it.
Nrama: Keith, you mentioned that the Secret Six seemed the most natural fit. Why do you think these teams go together?
Giffen: The Secret Six is kind of the fringe of the DCU, and so is Doom Patrol. I probably would have been a lot better off going, let’s bring in Green Lantern or Superman or Justice League or something like that, and try to quote sales figures, but I’ve never been that bright. Instead, I just thought Secret Six seemed the natural fit and like I said, I really, really do want that rematch.
Simone: For me, it's things like getting to have Rita and Ragdoll on the same page. It's unfortunate that Giganta just left Secret Six, that would have been good, elephantine fun. It's the Doom Patrol vs. the Six. If you love oddball comics, this is heaven.
Nrama: Keith, what else is coming up in Doom Patrol?
Giffen: Well, the Front Men are going to return, and we’re going to put the Doom Patrol through their paces. Everyone thinks, "Oh, the Chief's going to come back in a couple of issues, and is going to be sorely disappointed. No, we are really going to explore the Doom Patrol’s life post chief. They'll find out how much they need or possibly don’t need the man.And they'll move out into the DCU and start rubbing up against some of the other heroes as we try to establish just where their place in the DCU is.
Simone: People should be reading this book. Doom Patrol is one of my favorites right now, it's smart and original and evocative of this rich crazy past, all the way from the beginnings of the Silver Age to Grant Morrison at his oddest. I love it.
Nrama: Keith, I've just got to follow up on your comment about how the team will rub up against other heroes. Any idea who else they might encounter besides the Secret Six?
Giffen: Oh, we'll have quite a few people showing up when it makes sense. For example, I think a Gar Logan encounter is long overdue. And these are the sort of things where there won't even be official team-ups, where I dot the i’s and cross t’s with dozens of different writers. It'll be, sort of, "Hi, we’re the Doom Patrol. Hi, we don’t care."
And of course we’re building up to the climactic show down between the Doom Patrol and Mr. Somebody and the Front Men.
We are also bringing Rigoro Mortis back. I think we’re kind of tossing a grenade into the mix of the story here. He’s going to change one Doom Patrol member’s life forever.
And hopefully we’ll have a bit of fun along the away.
Nrama: Gail, what's coming up in Secret Six?
Simone: One of the plots I'm most excited about is something readers have been requesting since our first arc. We finally get to see a Sixer attempt to use the "Get Out Of Jail Free" card.
The question is, which Sixer, and who are they trying to return from Hell?
It's possibly the most fun arc we've had on the book. It's got all the filthy, bloody hijinx and perversity that Frederic Wertham warned America about and more. It's like Glee without the singing and with a lot more decapitation.