Review: Secret Weapons #1 (of 4)

As a comic book fan, I imagine that at some point you would have had either the “who would win in a fight?”, (it’s always Batman by the way) and “which super power would you like to have?”  It’s the second question  I would like to explore a little bit.  You see, as fans we will gravitate to the most obvious powers of the characters we like, be it flight, invulnerability, telepathy, adamantium claws or even X-ray vision.  Hey, I am not judging!  How about the ability to talk to birds, or make things glow or even conjure up random stuff with no control?  Those powers don’t seem so great, right?

The demise of Harada and his foundation has meant that a certain type of resident of the Crossroad resident Centre, AKA The Willows has been left to their own devices and thrown back into society after being deemed that their powers were not substantial enough to be a part of the Harbingers.  Now, a creature is stalking these forgotten few with only Livewire around to help protect them and being them together.

Not being a huge Valiant fan, I was unsure as I  flicked through this book.  But the writing of Eric Heisserer managed to ignite my curiosity with an interesting introduction to the Willows Few via Nicole  Finch and her seemingly oblivious of the real word conversations with the birds after a pretty standard “monster seeks people” start.  As this book is tied to Harada, there is the usual exposition to tie it into what has gone before, which almost stopped me reading onwards.  Yet, powering through, I was quite impressed with the uniqueness of the useless powers on display,  even if Owen Cho’s conjuring skills remind me off Presto from the Dungeon and Dragons cartoon.

Raul Allen provides the art with a busy page structures, filled with detail laden panels, which ebbs and flows through the book although the busyness of the panels kind of condenses the exposition, making it that much harder for a non fan to get involved.  It may also impact existing fans, who can get a bit crabby when given to much “previously on….”.  Still the pencils are strong, not matching the expectations of explosive superhero-ing you may desire; instead going for a more sullen feel which matches the somewhat less than stellar powers on show.  Allen does a good job of keeping everyone recognisable and there are some nice emotive panels between Nicole and Owen.  Colors are by Patricia Martin who gives us a dark almost desperate world, which fits the characters outlook on life well.

I have mentioned before that, at times, I don’t see the attraction of Valiant Books.  I feel that some of the characters have passed their shelf life, hence them vanishing from the comic racks in the past.  Still, I do recognize that the Valiant powers that be are trying hard to give their line some momentum with Divinity and the X-O reboot.  This book certainly fits the mold of mature superheroes, done in a mature manner.

Writing – 4 Stars
Art – 4 Stars
Colors – 4 Stars

(W) Eric Heisserer (A/CA) Raul Allen
Publisher: Valiant Ent.

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