Comic Review: Secret Weapons #1
Writer: Eric Heisserer
Artists: Raul Allen & Patricia Martin
I won’t pretend I’m coming to this unbiased. As impressive as Heisserer’s credits are (when was the last time an Oscar nominee wrote a comic book?) it’s the team of Raul Allen and Patricia Martin that really got me excited. I’ve been in love with Raul’s dynamic style since “Ninjak” #6 and since the duo cycled off from “Wrath of the Eternal Warrior” I’ve been eagerly awaiting their next big project. While I’m normally knee-deep in the Valiant Universe I’ve fallen off a bit lately, but the potential of this 4 issue series was too great to ignore.
After opening with a scientifically-enhanced monster we meet the first of our misfit superheroes – Nicole Finch – who can talk to birds. While other psiots (humans with psychic-based powers) can fly or are telekinetic, the characters in “Secret Weapons” are the rejects of an expensive program designed to create a superhuman army. Following the program’s abrupt demise the youths are out on their own, but little do they know something is hunting them down. Thankfully, technopath psiot and former Unity team leader, Livewire, is seeking out the kids before any more harm comes to them.
As this is a #1 issue we are mainly introduced to our cast, but there is a lot to like in this premise. One of my favorite things about Valiant as a whole is their accessibility. While there are scattered references, this book teases the bigger world rather than making a new reader feel overwhelmed by it. The concept of building a team out of rejects is nothing new (“Seven Samurai”, hell, the real-life basis for “Moneyball”) so it’ll be interesting to see it get the superhero revamp. Livewire has been a favorite of mine since her “Unity” days, and while I’ve cherished her guest appearances, this book looks like it will give her a prime spot amongst her whippersnapper crew. And finally, the buzz is that this team will have a big role in “Harbinger Wars 2” coming up next year. Oh and I guess it might be important that Heisserer is writing the upcoming Valiant big screen adaptations.
While all those points are well and good, this book is worth picking up for the art alone. The thick black lines, the unique color palette, the way action is framed, the panel arrangement, and on and on. Allen and Martin really flip my switches in a big way and I suppose other people are noticing given that they have this title and the aforementioned “Harbinger Wars” sequel. Allen’s professional work for big name clients may be the source for his atypical but attention grabbing scene composition. I haven’t figured out where Allen ends and where Martin starts but I don’t care – just please keep them making comics.
Review 5 (out of 7) – Strong opening issue, great jumping on point for new readers, and first-rate art that crackles with energy. Pick it up – your eyeballs will thank you.