I've got one of the 3D variants of Justice League #23.4 sitting on my desk right now, and, seriously, it's super cool. The hands are all totally reaching out at me, and stuff. Have you seen these 3D covers? They're so cool, you guys and-- That is not the point! I'm sorry, the point is, Secret Society #1, sitting on my desk, I've read it, would you like to hear about it? Well I'm going to tell you about it any way.
Secret Society #1 really shouldn't be called that. What it should be called is "Outsider #1," because the Trinity War villain is certainly the star of the issue, and make no mistake, it certainly falls into the "good story" category of Villains Month. It's all about his origins, and why he... Ok, you know what? There's no way to talk about this issue without spoiling the crap out of Trinity War and the premise of Forever Evil, so if you haven't read Trinity War yet, I'm about to tell you the ending of it.
The Outsider is the Earth-3 version of Alfred Pennyworth! He used Pandora's Box to bring the Crime Syndicate to Earth-1! The Justice League is dead, the world is ours!
Secret Society #1 is all about The Outsider's origin in greater detail. Specifically, just why does the Earth-3 version of Alfred look so pale? Why does he have that nervous tick of laughing? Ha.
Secret Society #1 is a good issue. It tells a compelling backstory for a villain, it gives us some reveals about Owlman and The Outsider both, and it has a cliffhanger that will definitely have you excited for Forever Evil #2 next week.
It's set in Earth-3 Gotham before The Outsider fled to Earth-1, and seeing Earth-3 Gotham, and just how corrupt it is (and keep in mind, this is compared to Gotham!) is a lot of fun. Seeing Owlman in action is great, and this issue is very heavy on set up for Owlman's character, especially in relation to the rest of the Crime Syndicate. We also get to see one of Earth-3's "heroes," although calling him that might be a bit much.
It's obvious that a lot of this issue is relying on you having read Forever Evil #1 (we get clarification on just what it was that happened to Talon in this issue, for example), and a lot of this issue is setting up things to come, especially, as with Forever Evil #1, relating to Nightwing, who it seems will have a very very major role in Forever Evil as a whole. There's striking imagery, and at least one moment that manages to have you genuinely sympathetic for Owlman, which is quite an accomplishment for a character who is literally just "evil Batman."
Because of the major things to come which this issue sets up, I would heavily recommend anyone reading Forever Evil pick this issue up.
The only major problem I had with the issue is the art. It's not bad, in fact it's quite good in parts, but it's very very dark, and sometimes that makes it almost incomprehensible. Sequential art relies on my being able to tell what's going on, and there are points in this issue where that's a problem. Still, it didn't get in the way of the story for the most part, and there are images in this issue that are very very striking which I don't want to spoil for you here. (To those who have read the issue: Talon. That is all.)
This might be my favorite of the Villains Month issues, and I read quite a few which I very much enjoyed. Consider this a strong recommendation. (Plus, seriously you guys, these 3D covers are, like, super cool.)