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Secret Six Reading Order

DC Comics is full of teams and organizations, some more famous than others. Everybody knows the Justice League and Suicide Squad, but you can’t say the same about the underused Secret Six.

Created at the end of the 1960s by E. Nelson Bridwell and Frank Springer, The Secret Six is the name given to a succession of clandestine, non-governmental special ops teams. The team, to put it simply, was at the time of its creation, DC’s version of Mission: Impossible (which was launched on television in 1966!).

The team features generally six members who all possess special skill sets but also some dark secrets that, if revealed or exploited, would result in imprisonment, disgrace, or death. They are led by the faceless Mockingbird, often with each character assuming that the leader must be one of the other five members. 

Each team can be read independently from the other, so let’s explore the several versions of Secret Six that exist in the main continuity with this Secret Six reading order!

Where to Start Reading The Secret Six? Or The Gail Simone’s Secret Six Reading Order

Chances are, if you are interested in reading comics featuring The Secret Six, you want to know more about the villain team created by Gail Simone, first appearing in Villains United #1 (2005).

Developed by writer Gail Simone, with artists Dale Eaglesham, Brad Walker, and Nicola Scott, The Secret Six band together to start a revolution! This team of six rogues has been recruited by a mysterious Mockingbird to work against the Secret Society and given assignments to thwart their rivals and even help their enemies. Who is Mockingbird? Could it be one of the six?

This question is on the minds of the members of the team, made up of the pre-existing DC characters Catman, Deadshot, and Cheshire, and the newly created Rag Doll, Scandal Savage, and a Parademon.

This band of outcasts started to work together at the beginning of the Infinite Crisis event and will continue their work beyond, with their own limited series, and an ongoing title which runs 36 issues.

Villains United (2005–2011)

DC Comics just started collecting her run in the omnibus format:

  • Secret Six by Gail Simone Omnibus Vol. 1
    Collects Villains United #1-6, Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special #1, Birds Of Prey #104-109, Secret Six (Vol. 2) #1-6, Secret Six (Vol. 3) #1-16, And Stories From 52 #28 And Countdown #22, Along With An Introduction And Commentary By Simone, New Cover By Nicola Scott, And More!

Or you can opt for the classic trade paperbacks:

The team is “disbanded” after an ill-fated mission to Gotham City. But Gail Simone is not yet finished with the Secret Six…

Secret Six New 52 (2015-2016)

Gail Simone brought back the Secret Six in the New 52 era with less success. Per the official synopsis, Six strangers were captured, drugged and thrown together in a prison cell in the middle of the ocean. All of them with certain special abilities. None of them are exactly superheroes. These unlikely allies must band together to escape the shadowy figure who locked them away and continues to hunt them down for reasons they don’t understand. 

The team is made up of Catman, Black Alice, Strix, Ventriloquist, Porcelain, and Big Shot and had a short run collected in:

The Other Secret Six Team in DC Comics:

As we have already written, Secret Six is a name that has been used by several teams in the DC Universe. The first time the team appeared in a DC Comic book was in Doll Man #36, in October 1951. It was the only appearance this totally forgotten version of the team made! More than fifteen years later, the original Secret Six were introduced for a short run as the publication ceased after only seven issues. An updated version of the team reappeared in the eighties, while another version was recently led by The Batman Who Laughs

The Batman Who Laughs’ Secret Six Comics: The Infected (2019)

The latest version of the Secret Six was created by writer Joshua Williamson and artist David Marquez during Year of the Villain, in the aftermath of Dark Nights: Metal. This version of the Secret Six was a group of heroes and allies corrupted by The Batman Who Laughs.

This team is made up of The Commissioner (James Gordon), Deathbringer (Donna Troy), King Shazam (Billy Batson), Scarab (Jaime Reyes), Sky Tyrant, and Supergirl (Kara Zor-El).

The Original Secret Six (1968–1969)

The team makes its first appearance during the Silver Age of Comic Books. Writer E. Nelson Bridwell and artist Frank Springer assembled a team of six individuals who were assigned each issue by the mysterious Mockingbird a new mission. Their first one was to stop villain Zoltan Lupus from demonstrating his weapons of mass destruction.

The Secret Six was made up of nuclear physicist August Durant, escapologist and magician Carlo Di Rienzi, disguise expert Lili de Neuve, pilot and stuntman King Savage, former heavyweight champion Tiger Force, and femme fatale Crimson Dawn. 

The original Secret Six was canceled after only seven issues, with the identity of Mockingbird unrevealed.

  • Secret Six (Vol. 1) #1-7
    Those seven issues were published in 1968-1969 and have never been collected anywhere to my knowledge.

The Second Secret Six (1988–1989)

The Secret Six are back in action in the eighties! The team was revived by writer Martin Pasko and artist Dan Spiegle in the pages of Action Comics Weekly #601, following DC’s attempt to relaunch the title as a weekly anthology.

Twenty years have passed since their last mission and, in contrast to most comic-book characters, the Six had all aged in real-time, and were not in shape to go in the field. But they were summoned to train their successors before tragedy struck.

This time, the team was formed by characters with disabilities helped or negated by high-tech devices. The new Secret Six team was made of special effects tech Mitch Hoberman, actress Ladonna Jameal, author Tony Mantegna, former Olympic Gold medalist and paraplegic Luke McKendrick, U.S. Marine (on disability) Vic Sommers, and Computer specialist and mathematician Dr. Maria Verdugo.

  • Action Comics Weekly #601-612, #619–630
    To my knowledge, those stories have never been collected anywhere.

DC Comics
Note: An earlier version of this article originally appeared on the site in 2022. With the release by DC Comics of an Omnibus for Gail Simone’s run, it seems like a good time to show it again!