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Are The Secret Six The Heroes We Need?

In a world that isn't so black and white, are the Secret Six the types of heroes we deserve?

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Being fans of the superhero genre means we all love the notion of the morally perfect, incorruptible hero taking down the stereotypical black and white villain. It’s a concept that has been the linchpin of the genre ever since Superman jumped over his first building. We all know that the heroes of our favorite books don’t kill. And if they did, what line separates them from the bad guys they put away?

But in today’s world, one that is much darker and filled with less optimism, are the superheroes we love good enough? Are they actually succeeding at their mission? Because as far as I can tell, the world continues its downward spiral towards the bottom of the drain.

You can even make the argument that this self-righteous ethics code that our favorite superheroes hold so high is nothing more than a selfish act to narcisistically preserve their own image. For example, how many times has Batman seen the Joker escape from Arkham Asylum -- killing hundreds of thousands of people in the process -- and not decided to pull the trigger and end the cycle once and for all? He kills one and saves thousands. Yet, he won’t do it because of some ridiculous belief that it will make him no better than the Joker.
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It all comes down to our heroes wanting to hold their own image above that of normal people -- even if it’s done subconsciously. This philosophy of pure beacons to light our way through the darkness is also incredibly naive and realistically does not fit into the portrait of the world that we see when we look out our own windows.

So if our heroes are already selfish in their obsessive need to be above the commoners, why not make it about business too? Maybe what we need is a group of “heroes” that removes that false self of righteousness from the equation and actually works on making the world a better place by permanently removing those who drag it through the mud, all the while earning some extra cash in the process.

Enter: The Secret Six.  
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I know that was a long-winded setup to discuss the Secret Six, but just go with me here. That background is essential to understanding the importance of the latest iteration of the six -- a team made up of Catman, Deadshot, Scandal Savage, Ragdoll, Bane and Jeannette. This group of misfits are mercenaries, guns for hire, plain and simple. They will kill anyone as long as there is a profit to be made. However, the game is never as black and white as it is through the eyes of your typical superhero. The Secret Six frequently come face-to-face with some of the worst scum in the universe and, more often than not, choose to forfeit the take to instead focus their energy on putting an end to some meanest bastards in existence. Whether they’ll admit it or not, the Secret Six do have morals, it’s just a matter of actually listening to that little birdie on their shoulder and putting it to use.

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So to bring this back around, are the Secret Six the types of heroes we need in our ruthless world? Are these the people we should be cheering for and honoring with museums because they actually get criminals off the streets for good? Unfortunately, the answer is not that easy.

While it’s arguable that the Secret Six’s occasional selfless deeds do more good in the long run than the accomplishments of heroes such as Batman, it’s still a matter of them contributing to the problem. For every villain they put in a six-foot ditch, the mere fact that these six murders remain alive and outside prison is a contradiction to the perfect utopia supposed “heroes” strive to achieve. You could say every step forward is a step backward, so to speak.

But therein lies the beauty of the Six: they are not bound by the stereotypical actions of the standard superhero. It’s not always about doing what’s right , it’s about doing what’s beneficial to one’s self, and if that happens to positively effect the grand scheme of the world, great. They might not be the quintessential heroes we need to lift us out of the muck we constantly surround ourselves with, but they do get the job done when necessary. To put it bluntly, the Secret Six rest in that tricky gray area where morally-centered hero meets dastardly villain, and that’s why we love them so much.

Erik Norris writes about nerd things on a daily basis and you can follow his interweb exploits on Twitter at @Regular_Erik