I don’t know about you, but I love jumping into a new series without any idea what I’m getting into. Comic books allow for infinite budgets and only the creator’s imagination holding them back. Valiant has produced solid comics for quite awhile now and they’ve done well incorporating realistic worlds with science fiction concepts. Secret Weapons continues that trend.
Writer: Eric Heisserer
Artist: Raúl Allén and Patricia Martin
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
So what’s it about?
Why does this book matter?
Holy crap guys, Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer wrote this comic book! If that doesn’t get you hyped, Harvey award nominated artist Raúl Allén imbues everything with a cel-shaded look that’s reminiscent of David Aja’s and very strong layouts indeed.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I had no trouble dropping into this book without any idea of who the main characters are and only a basic understanding of what came before it. The premise is intriguing and sounds like a story either of the big two could have come up with — but they didn’t. The main heroes of this book don’t have the coolest of powers–hell they’re not even that useful–and they’ve been forgotten more or less. One can light up things he touches, another can communicate and direct birds, and the other can conjure things out of thin air yet has no control over when or what he conjures. They’re rejects, but given the title, they will serve a bigger purpose. It’s the perfect plot for an industry where all the ideas seem to have been used up. Valiant has plenty of heroes of their own, but these characters you can relate to. They’re cast offs, folks who haven’t found their purpose, and this is their story to find it.
Well that’s not helpful.
Much of this issue is a chase sequence as a mysterious villain has ordered a giant robotic thing with tentacles (or are they roots) to find and destroy the nobody heroes. You can tell Heisserer is a screenwriter, because the story flows in a visual way. Cutting from the opening where the villain is conjured, we are introduced to Nicole Finch. She’s youngish, fun, and quickly showcases a resolve you’d want in a hero. As the story progresses, and the action kicks into gear, Heisserer reveals details and shows off how characters with seemingly useless powers can surprise you.
The art in this book is very good with great facial expressions and solid panel work. There’s some inventive layout design too, like one where six panels run down the middle of the page: on the left is a city building at night and on the right, the building is in the day. As the panels run down the middle of the page we see the characters converse at night and by the end it’s morning. The layout design throughout the book is faster in pace too with a lot of smaller panels running horizontally to break up wider panels. So often it’s easy to forget the pace of a book is in the hands of the artist and I think Allén and Patricia Martin do a bang up job. Also, nice touch calling a venue Bowie!
Wow this art crackles.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Maybe I’m an impatient reader, but a case isn’t made that these characters truly can do amazing things yet. It’s obviously in the plans, but aside from Nicole being a boss the other average-hero normals get little play. This is made more obvious by the fact that the story is moving quite slow. Given the entirety of this issue is one chase sequence (more or less) you’re left wanting more.
Is It Good?
If the visuals don’t sell you the premise will. Valiant has a surefire hit on their hands here because the characters are so relatable.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!