Skip to main content

REVIEW: SECRET WEAPONS #3 by Eric Heisserer, Raul Allen, Patricia Martin

'Secret Weapons' is evolving nicely and writer Eric Heisserer is doing it with great character development turning these so-called superhero rejects into resourceful underdogs.


SECRET WEAPONS #3 
    
Writer: Eric Heisserer
Artist: Raul Allen, Patricia Martin
Letterer: Patricia Martin
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: August 16, 2017
Cover Price: $3.99

Score: ★★★★★ (5/5)

One of the sure-fire ways to endear characters to readers is to make them "loveable losers." Underappreciated and underestimated, these psiots with odd powers who were rejected from Harada's psiot-inducing factory, are just normal kids willing to do the right thing. Like any tale of underdogs rising to the occasion to make their mark, 'Secret Weapons' embraces this trope and in doing so delivers a charming and exciting superhero comic.

At the center is Amanda Mckee-the super-powered technopath known as Livewire, who mentors her recruits. She's the Professor X to her X-Men wannabes who just need a vote of confidence and some responsibility. In many ways, the themes are reminiscent of the legendary Marvel series that served as an allegory for society's ills like discrimination, something that is cleverly covered in the opening scene. And like those gifted mutants, McKee's psiots need to come together and learn to use their powers as a team. Unlike Harada, she sees their value and worthy of her protection. In this world where even the most common third tier psiot is being hunted by a cybernetic threat known as Rex-O, the parallels to our current immigration enforcement policy targeting the most vulnerable among us resonate sharply.

 Avichal's power to become solid as stone but stationary comes in handy as he explains in the opening. He's a Sikh and is mistaken for Muslim which draws looks and stares from people seemingly all the time. The discrimination he encounters is compounded by the distrust the public has of psiots as well. The confrontation we see is one we've seen too often in real life. Heisserer taps into that narrative with a good outcome for Avichala which is rousing but a reminder it doesn't end well for everybody. Nonetheless, Heisserer takes these bold steps to highlight the dangers the psiots face not just from Rex-O but from everyday life. In doing so, 'Secret Weapons' takes on a deeper meaning, a more urgent and timely social aspect that is all too familiar in our present climate. The social commentary is woven into a larger conspiracy that threatens these heroes-in-training. It's still a superhero comic with all the thrills and action you'd expect but with some surprising results from from some unlikely heroes.  

Artist Raul Allen and colorist/letterer Patricia Martin conduct a symphony of sequential art that uses smart deliberate pacing and pitch-perfect composition. Heroes with unusual powers make for some fun panels that demonstrate just how useful they can be.  Nikki's fearlessness and combative prowess highlight her strength even without the psiot ability to talk to birds. Although, using the birds to help in the fight sequence is very much Hitchcockian which is referenced in the script and brought to life by Allen. The layouts accentuate their skills perfectly even with great wonder and surprise when Owen conjures up something useful. The body language and facial expressions are spot-on. Martin's colors are often soft pastels that create a dreamlike atmosphere that belies the dangers on the page. The color work reminds me of Matt Wilson's work on 'Paper Girls.'

'Secret Weapons’ doesn't sacrifice character development for great action. It does both well and makes us care about this ragtag team of rejects that have unlimited potential. The subversive social commentary and the rise of the underdog are not new to comics but rarely executed this well. It feels like Heisserer and company are just getting started with this penultimate chapter and it really deserves an ongoing series of its own. Valiant Entertainment keeps producing winning comics and without a doubt 'Secret Weapons' is a clear winner.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

Fitness Women in Superhero Body Paint by J.M. Manion

J.M. Manion has long been a successful photographer covering the fitness and bodybuilding industry. He has photographed some of the strongest, well-defined physiques on the planet. He's also had a love of super-heroes and comic books. So much so that Manion began publishing his own comic book, Iron Siren Comics, featuring some of the fitness competitors he's covered as superheroes themselves. It's no wonder he sometimes incorporates superhero cosplay and body paint into photo shoots. Here are just some examples of his work:

KICKSTARTER SPOTLIGHT: Tyler & Wendy Chin-Tanner's 'Dead Beats' Music Themed Horror Anthology

Dead Beats is a 160-page full-color anthology of music-themed horror comics centered around the curiosities for sale at one peculiar record store by its enigmatic Shoppe Keeper.

..if you're looking for new or used vinyl, cassettes, CDs, gear, or merch, Dead Beats has the best selection in town. Of course, everything we sell has a story and our friendly Shoppe Keeper is happy to tell you all about it. All sales final Edited by Joseph Corallo (Oh S#!t, It's Kim & Kim, Mine!) and Eric Palicki (This Nightmare Kills Fascists, All We Ever Wanted), Dead Beats features more than twenty comics stories and more than forty up-and-coming creators and industry veterans, as well as cover art and interstitial narrative illustrations by Lisa Sterle (Long Lost, Submerged).




From the Dead Beats introduction, illustrated by Lisa Sterle



From "Vanishing." Illustrations by Sally Cantirino from a script by Matthew Erman.

From "The Cursed Saxophone of Skasferatu." Illustrations by…

Poison Ivy's Rebirth From Child to Sexed-Up Adult on 'Gotham' Covered in New Featurette

The wacky world of Fox's Gotham has long embraced its brand of crazy. "Anything goes," seems to be the motto as the show has tried to fill in the blanks of a pre-Batman Gotham City. Besides making the future Commissioner Gordon an erratic hot-head, his future wife a sociopath, and brought back a villain from the dead, the latest stunt involves aging-up a teen Ivy Pepper magically into an adult to use her powers as a seductress.
Executive producer Ken Woodruff explained this creepy premise to THR: We made the change for two reasons: The character Ivy in the comics, one of her greatest powers is the power of seduction. Everyone was much more comfortable with that with an older actress as opposed to a teenager. We want to explore that classic, canonical power of Ivy. And we didn't just make her older with that attack. When she's changed and transformed, there's a real character change as well. She'll still have some of the same traits, but she'll be much d…

An Artist Will Get His Revenge in The Post-WWII Original Graphic Novel SIMON SAYS

Image Comics announces an all-new, original graphic novel Simon Says by Andre R. Frattino and Jesse Lee which will paint a post-World War II Europe in a scarlet shade of revenge this September.


Simon Says is a drama-filled, crime noir story that follows a former artist to the Führer who hunts down and seeks justice upon the Nazis he witnessed murder his friends and loved ones during the war. It is an original graphic novel inspired by true events and by a real-world Holocaust survivor, Simon Wiesenthal, an artist who lost his family and took justice into his own hands.
"Simon Says is about an innocent and gentleman, an artist, whose family and life are destroyed by a real-world event. Not something sci-fi or fanciful, but something that has happened and could happen again. In that way, it's the story of any of us, and how we would respond if who we were and what we had were lost,” said Frattino. "The real-life, famed Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal, was quoted as once sayin…