Advance Review: Secret Weapons #1
By Eric Heisserer, Raúl Allén, Patricia Martin
Valiant Entertainment’s own secret weapon is the newest title in its arsenal, Secret Weapons. This four-part mini-series featuring Livewire lets fans see another side of the Harbinger Foundation while delivering an exciting and potentially devastating storyline.
This engaging story will connect with fans of science fiction that has an emphasis on the human element. There’s amazing technology and fantastical human abilities, but at its core, this is a book about humanity and compassion, specifically Livewire’s compassion. Fans have been clamoring for more Livewire, and this miniseries promises to show her at her finest.
As a character, Livewire has been a part of numerous titles, but until now has not been truly featured. Despite her many appearances, in some ways her character has been underserved. She is a psiot of incredible power with great strength of conviction. That she serves the common good rather than be a tool of an entity or government makes her even more viable and dynamic. This mini-series, more than any other appearance, promises to speak both to that characteristic and to her unexplored potential.
The impact of this storyline within the Valiant Universe cannot be ignored. The foundation for the story is the fallout from Harada’s ousting in Harbinger. Those revelations changed the world, and fans are being given another perspective on the price of that “victory”. It’s a natural place to create a story involving former Harbinger Foundation protégé, Livewire, and the threats that have arisen in Harada’s absence. The introduction of the new villain promises to further expand the reach of this storyline.
It bears mentioning that this book is accessible to all readers, not just Harbinger fans. Livewire is the only established character, and a brief backstory on the Harbinger Foundation gets everyone up to speed.
This is writer Eric Heisserer’s comic debut. Heisserer is better known for his film work, such as the much heralded Arrival. That experience served him well in this medium. Heisserer has done a terrific job delivering the story, showing rather than telling by keeping the exposition light. That’s quite a feat considering the amount of ground to cover in this book, including the introduction of several new characters, a new locale, and setup for a new villain. Heisserer’s reliance on the artist’s “camera” to propel the story rather than explaining all the details allows readers to quickly absorb the factual and emotional elements. The pacing of the story aids the overall delivery. The creative team allows it to ebb and flow naturally, never rushing it to cram in additional details.
Sharing in the credit for the exceptional visual storytelling is artist Raúl Allén. Allén’s distinctive style takes on a bit of a rougher look for this urban story, giving the street scenes and cityscapes an edgier look than his previous work in Eternal Warrior. His clear panel storytelling make it a breeze for readers to follow. The panel layout is uniform yet never dull as he varies their size in ways that keep the page visually interesting yet organized. The characters’ acting and their placement within the panels is superb. Allén uses interesting vantage points to give readers insightful perspective within panels, such as partial body shots in the foreground with the focal point being an object in the background. There’s even a Rear Window-esque panel that echoes both a classic scene and its content. His use of silhouettes adds to the emotional heaviness of particular scenes while simultaneously drawing the eye to the details. The details throughout the book are spectacular. From pictures on the wall to a surreal reminder of the extent of the Valiant Universe, details are in abundance and serve to give readers greater insight into the personalities of the characters.
Colorist Patricia Martin lends to the emotional tone of the book. The colors are mostly muted with a blue tone, matching the urban “unnatural” landscape. It also reminds one of tones in modern science fiction films that reflect cyborgs and tech. The predominant muted tones contrast sharply with sparingly used bright colors that drench entire panels, making the action in those scenes even more heart-pounding. Allen has crafted the scene, and Martin gives it emotional weight.
Livewire’s gun hands are locked and loaded for Secret Weapons #1. This captivating story embraces science fiction while feeding our need genuine emotion and human connection. Do not miss out on this stunning book.
Secret Weapons #1 will be released on June 28th, from Valiant Entertainment