Cover to Cover: Your face is a cash-grab

FUN FACT TIME!:
Janus was the Roman God of gates, doors, beginnings and endings (from Wikipedia).

The name "janitor" comes from this guy, since janitors take care of the places!

Janus had two faces, so he could literally see behind his head. Useful for teachers!

Janus

We won't be dealing with Roman Gods today, but we will be dealing with two faces!

Faces, that is, of eeeeeeevil! Hopefully you've been aware of DC's recent campaign to run "Faces of Evil" issues in several of their titles, and that just happened to intersect with some titles I collect. Here's an example of a F.O.E. issue done well, in which the spotlight is on and the perspective is from the villain, with incredibly smooth writing, but will today's issues fare as well? WILL THEY????

Secret Six #5

(Faces of Evil: Deadshot)

by Gail Simone and Nicola Scott

Deadshot is a mercenary who left his family to protect them/get lots of money for himself. He's a jerk, but he's a pretty funny jerk with a mustache and a, well, killer aim.

Deadshot

He's one-sixth of the Secret Six and this issue, supposedly dedicated to him, takes place smack-dab in the middle of Simone's storyarc. Deadshot does some narrating, but then, fellow Secret Six-er Bane, also gets a fairly dramatic portion of the story devoted to him.

As a "F.O.E." issue, this pretty much fails. As a story it fares somewhat similarly.

The problem is that Gail's humor has to get through a very dark story, with plenty of sadness and tragedy, and gore for gore's sake. There were two scenes that had to be shaded in red just to blunt the horror of all these deaths, and this wasn't portrayed humorously at all. Bane getting tortured, for example.

Banebite

If only Simone could integrate the darkness of these mercenary lives with her genuine humor storytelling more smoothly. (a good dose of black humor would just make my day!) As it stands though, Secret Six is a title that suffers from bipolar tone disorder: is it supposed to be funny, or is it supposed to be dark? This needs to be reconciled!

Green Arrow/Black Canary #16

(Faces of Evil: Merlyn)

by Andrew Kreisberg and Mike Norton

Merlyn is basically Green Arrow's arch-nemesis. Green Arrow has green arrows. Merlyn has black arrows. No, Merlyn has no magic powers like the eponymous Merlyn of Arthurian legend.

This issue is in no way focused on Merlyn, nor is it from his perspective. He plays the typical "bad-guy-who-gets-beat-up-by-the-good-guy" in the issue, so, basically, this fails at being a "F.O.E." issue.

Excepting that fact, though, this issue isn't that bad. It isn't great, sure, but it's enough for me to look forward to next issue. This is Kreisberg's second issue on the series, and it's shaping up pretty well. I feel like he's trying to bring back the Mike Grell era to Green Arrow -- make Green Arrow a city guy, not just a cape-and-tights superhero, but a city superhero who dealt real issues.

Merlyn doesn't like Green

He makes friends with a police officer, and he even brings up environmentalism!

There's a follow-up on the previous issue, which makes for a stunning cliffhanger in this issue. It's pretty awesome, but that's as much as I'll tell you!

An unfortunate byproduct of the Mike Grell-ification of the story is that it's focusing on Green Arrow when the title is Green Arrow/Black Canary. I'm betting a lot of people, myself included, would like to see Black Canary get a nice spotlight too.

So, there you have it. Two "F.O.E." issues that weren't really that F.O.E.-y at all. One of them feels bipolar, but the other is constructed better.

That's all I got for today, guys. Do you have anything to add?

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