New Comic Wednesday Debut: SECRET WEAPONS #1
SECRET WEAPONS #1 (Valiant Entertainment, June 28 release date) Writer: Eric Heisserer. Artists: Raul Allen & Patricia Martin. Letterer: Patricia Martin.
SECRET WEAPONS has received a lot of advance press and promotion, which always makes me a bit skeptical. Sometimes the work isn’t deserving of the attention. Sometimes the marketing team just needs a book to create some buzz for, picks an average title, and then overdoes it. Readers get let down because expectations were so high.
However, you can usually trust the Valiant team not to screw up a good thing. And, I can’t blame Valiant for talking up this book - - after all, it’s written by a talented screenwriter (ARRIVAL) who’s earned accolades for his movie scripts. And, he wasn’t coaxed or forced to work on this book - - according to reports he was genuinely impressed by Livewire while working on the script for the HARBINGERS movie, and wanted to develop his ideas for the character further.
So, fear not comics readers. This book lives up to the hype. It’s very good, and just scratches the surface in Issue #1. Bigger things are ahead.
In a lab hidden underneath Oklahoma City, a mad scientist (my snap assessment) unleashes a new creation from the birthing tubes: Sonya, who projects biomechanics thorns (which resemble thick and twisted, vine-like tree trunks) from her skin. In another part of the city, Livewire investigates the remains of the raided Willows, a previously unknown outpost where Harada was activating and housing psiots.
Just like the book, I’m assuming you are familiar with the Harbingers storyline. I won’t be providing explanatory details here. Unlike many Valiant books, SECRET WEAPONS does not open with a background page or summary. That puts brand-new readers at a disadvantage. However, it’s not impossible to understand the story here. It’s certainly interesting enough that patient readers will stay with it, hoping to learn more as they continue to follow the story.
The psiots that were activated at the Willows were disappointing to Harada, who considered their powers “trivial” and abandoned them. Livewire decides to take up their cause, and seeks to find them and offer further training and shelter - - which she begins to do before the issue ends.
In Issue #1 we meet three psiots with unusual powers. Nicole talks to birds. Martin can make inanimate objects glow. Owen is a conjurer, but has no control over what he creates out of thin air. All three become the prey of tree-trunk-armed Sonya, who some of them may already know.
BC RATING SYSTEM
STORY: Make no mistake. Heisserer knows how to tell an engaging story and is a master of pacing. He throws a lot of information at readers in this first issue but manages to spread it out throughout the story without overwhelming or confusing the plot. 2.5 POINTS.
ART: Dynamic. The use of just a few subdued colors and clever shading really helps convey the tension and drama. Panel size is played with to maximum impact - - the story unfolds in small panels, vertical panels, widescreen views and bigger when the action requires it. 3 POINTS.
COVER: Good covers, but not conveying enough to pull readers to the contents. 1.5 POINT.
READ AGAIN? You will. 1 POINT.
RECOMMEND? I think this will be a worthwhile series. 1 POINT.
TOTAL RATING: 9 POINTS. Near perfect. Don’t miss it.