What's the collective noun for mystics? Whatever is it, we need it for Secret Six #7, as pretty much all of DC's magic-based heroes and villains hold a council of war. The problem? Black Alice, teenage sorceress and Secret Six member.
We knew she borrowed power from magical users but it seems there's a previously unrevealed cost. And putting the Black Alice genie back in the bottle sets the arcane alliance on a collision course with the Six.
Or rather, five and one cute gnome. Alice herself is sick in hospital...
I've enjoyed the new run of this classic series hugely, and this issue sets a fresh standard in villain-based entertainment. Catman's sporting attempts to bond with his new associates are funny and sad and sweet, while Felix Faust, the Demon, Klarion the Witch Boy and many, many more favourites add spice to an already tasty mix. Big Shot, keeping vigil by Alice's bed, continues to be my favourite member, but it's a close-run thing - at this point, writer Gail Simone has made all the main characters appealing (Porcelain, ironically, gets stronger by the month).
The enchantment of mystics (trying that on for size) makes me miss the old Shadowpact series - Justice League Dark had its moments, but Shadowpact maintained a wacky charm all its own, and wacky charm is a Simone speciality. Plus, she's a demon when it comes to making Etrigan's rhymes scan.
Dale Eaglesham draws the bulk of the book, with Tom Derenick stepping in for pages 17-19 and it's strong, stylish work all round. After dazzling on Simone's offbeat opening, Eaglesham gives us some spectacularly suave magicians - were I getting married, I'd ask the perfect-looking Dr Occult to officiate in a heartbeat.
He continues to have Catman out-Dick Grayson when it comes to male cheesecake, and generally imbues all the characters with, well, character. And Derenick's scene features comics' best ever hospital visit.
Both artists are longtime Simone partners and it shows, as they consistently make her already tuneful scripts sing (Simone is so good she could make that last attempt at a metaphor work).
The art is studded with witty little moments, such as the table settings in the House of Strangers where gather the eldritch crew - Felix Faust refers to them as the Enclave - and Catman's rather appropriate mobile phone cover.
What's more, Dr Occult's pipe is inarguably awesome.
And Jason Wright, possibly the longest serving Secret Sixer this side of Simone, continues to provide naturalistic colours that don't underserve the drama.
Wright teams up with Eaglesham for the super-spooky cover, Travis Lanham letters - if he did the calligraphy on page one, give that man a hug - while editors Jim Chadwick and David Piña need only remember to give us art credit breakdowns and I'll hug 'em.
I can't imagine anyone who likes a superhero universe not loving this comic. It's just a smart, great-looking treat, month after month.