Review: Secret Weapons #2
Writer: Eric Heisserer
Art and Colours: Raul Allen and Patricia Martin
Letters: Patricia Martin
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
After the almighty splash created by the arrival of Secret Weapons #1, the general consensus was that Valiant had succeeded in landing just about the most exciting name in the movie writing industry. And it really showed. Secret Weapons #1 was savvy, clinical in it’s economy of language, and it showed a depth to the writing that isn’t often reachable in a first issue. So, with the inaugural book as successful as this, can the formula be sustained?
In Heisserer, Secret Weapons has a writer whose day job is to craft screenplays that are shaped in ebbs and flows. And this issue ebbs and flows, with the book kicking off with an opening where we reconnect with our renegade psiots and the horrific attack upon them by Rex-O. Livewire once more takes a central role in the debriefing and we are walked through her attempt to find answers as she communicates with web-based data and questions a virtual Rex-O. This sequence is cleverly kitted out in a purple hue to capture the technological feel and the background detail is matrixy. Even the lettering is considered, with black text boxes outlining the alternative nature of the virtual conversation being had. This, of course, rests between sequences where again, tones are dulled to give the whole book a modest feel. This isn’t a cartoonish romp but a much more grown up affair.
Readers of the latest Harbinger series will feel the spiritual connection between the events in that and this title. The world, it appears, is out to get Harada’s pet-projects. Here, our Willow rejects are soon in action again, as we are introduced to another of Harada’s aforementioned side projects, Avichal Malakar. Malakar is another fallible would-be-hero who draws the attentions of the mysterious Rex-O, of course leading to an onslaught of action as our young protagonists use and hone their skills in keeping each other alive. The action is explosive and a dynamic pencilling style captures each movement with kinetic tracers, and angry, outsized exclamations. Again, the lettering is engaged to capture Rex-O’s robotic expressions in squared, data filled boxes rather than text boxes – a great touch.
One thing that is fast becoming a stand-out feature of Allen’s artwork is the sheer number of panels he manages to fit into each sequence. Where lesser artists might lose something visually with this, Allen ramps up the visual experience and we feel that the book keeps on giving detail, and pace thus feels like it’s controlled, being sped up and down. The action scenes are captured movement by movement and can give a slow motion feel. Angles and perspectives are also used to establish settings and events in a considered way which overall makes the issue feel extremely well thought out and designed to give a visual experience outside of a quick 2-D narrative.
By the end of the book, we can expect to feel exhausted, both by the action and the conundrum over the purpose and conceit behind the events. We’re left panting and ready for issue #3. But just in case we’re reeling from having to wait another month to hold the latest in Valiant’s prestige editions in our hands, we are offered up an article by Heisserer on his work with the team behind the series. This gave me a rare insight into the creative and collaborative process behind a run like this, with the added angle of having an expert screen writer at the helm. Great stuff! All in all, another great reason to pick up this strong title in Valiant’s already packed roster.
Thank you for reading our review of Secret Weapons #2. We here at the Chico Comics Page appreciate your viewership. We invite you to check back with us soon as we post often. Or, you can follow us on Facebook (The Chico Comics Page) and Twitter (@ChicoComicsPage) for regular updates on all of our posts.
Review written by Arun S.
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