5. Secret Six: Suicide Squad Successors

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Remember how I said the Suicide Squad were really off and on for a few decades? Well, the Secret Six is one of the books that took its place. It's arguably the most successful uh, successor to the series, nailing the tone set up by Ostrander and McDonnell and building on that with new and interesting cast members. Writer Gail Simone and artist Nicola Scott do wonders with freaks and oddballs that by no means should be charming or even relatable. 

While the storylines themselves are pretty fun -- one of the most substantial plots involves a fight over a "Get Out of Hell Free Card" -- the character work in particular is special. You might have noticed Bane in the ranks of the Six above; he plays a pretty big part in the series. Though we know him as one of Batman's greatest foes, we see another side of Bane when he becomes something of a father figure to Scandal Savage, daughter of the immortal dickmunch Vandal Savage. 

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Beyond his impressive back-breaking highlights, no comic has really dug into Bane's persona as well as Secret Six. Here, we see him often without his mask, more man than monster. Later in the series, he's attempting to fight his addiction to Venom (the volatile super-serum that helped him take on the Bat), but having a pretty rough time with withdrawals. Scandal helps him out, but not in the way you'd expect. 

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She sleeps with Bane, yeah, but in the sense that Scandal actually rested by his side and made sure he survived the night. There are plenty of superhero comics that feature implied or directly depicted sex, but this is a much more intimate moment, well-earned. 

Aside from the mushy stuff, Secret Six does a lot to make its gang of Z-listers a formidable threat. Now, try not to laugh, but their leader is Catman. He's exactly what he sounds like. 

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By all means, Catman should be a joke. This guy probably got his books dumped by Aquaman in high school. He began as an asinine character with no reason to exist. And then he transformed. 

See, Catman (real name Thomas Blake) was pretty down in the dumps about being a laughable piece of shit in the supervillain community. He even tried to end his own life, but he couldn't even succeed at that. At his lowest, Blake decided to go to Africa to reconnect with his feline roots; somehow he managed to live successfully with a pride of lions, and eventually emerged a beautifully buff butterfly. A butterfly capable of beating the crap out of Batman.

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Like Amanda Waller, Catman uses his deceptive appearance (and unfavorable reptuation) to get a leg-up over his enemies. This is a character that doesn't have any right to exist, much less kick this much ass. And yet, Simone and Scott manage to make you not only like this dingus, but straight-up root for him when he puts his boot in Batman's mouth. And really, that's what the Suicide Squad is all about.