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

PREVIEW: 'Tet' #4 by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker

We've seen Eugene's story. But during his last day's in Vietnam, he finally learns how Ha survived the war. She's always been much stronger than him; and much stronger than he's given her credit for. With all their secrets gone, Ha and Eugene must decide how to move forward.

REVIEW: 'Cyber Force' #3 by Bryan Hill, Matt Hawkins, and Atilio Rojo

The story of Aphrodite is the focus of 'Cyber Force' #3. This compelling chapter continues to build the new world of Top Cow's reimagined original title. Corporate greed leads to murder and coercion until one doctor's obsession results in a powerful revelation.


CYBER FORCE #3 
Writer: Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill Artist: Atilio Rojo Letterer: Troy Peteri Editor: Elena Salcedo Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: May 30, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)
Marc Silvestri released 'Cyber Force' twenty-six years ago and this second reboot of the former flagship series rests in the hands of writers Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins. It was only a matter of time before we'd get the whereabouts of the sentient android Aphrodite. Hill and Hawkins dedicate this issue to her story, and it's probably the best in the series so far. We get very little Carin and Morgan in order to give what is essentially an unnerving scientific horror story. 
Cyber Data is the or…

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 …

PREVIEW: 'The Ghost, The Owl' Hardcover by Franco and Sara Richard

On a cool evening on the swamp, a figure appears dancing across the water. A human figure, but far from a human form. A Ghost, a young girl spirit that seems to have lost its way. A good Samaritan owl decides to help against the wishes of his animal brethren.


What mysteries does the ghost girl hold the secrets to and what will happen when she and the owl unlock them together?  Will they find out what happened to her? Will she find her way to where she needs to be?  What will happen to the animals in the swamp and surrounding forest? An adventure with the most unlikely of pairs, the Ghost, the Owl.

THE GHOST, THE OWL HC
In stores on 5/2/2018 Writer(s): Franco Artist Name(s): Sara Richard Cover Artist(s): Sara Richard
48 pgs./ A / FC                   $9.99





PREVIEW: 'Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella: The Heart Is A Lonely Killer' TPB by Shawn Aldridge and Rapha Lobosco

The Vegas strip heats up as Cassie Hack and her companion Vlad are on the trail of a deadly slasher and meet the lovely, yet lethal Vampirella. The team-up event you’ve been waiting for is a high stakes game of chance when they have to take on The Queen of Hearts!


This Volume collects the complete, 5-issue series by Shawn Aldridge (The Dark and Bloody) and Rapha Labosco (James Bond), and features all of the covers by Jenny Frison, Carli Ihde, Jen Vaughn, Kyle Strahm, Chrissie Zullo, Goran Sudzuka, Michael Dooney, Bully Tucci, and more!

Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella: The Heart Is A Lonely Killer TP
writer: Shawn Aldridge artist: Rapha Lobosco cover: Jenny Frison FC  |  136 pages  |  $19.99  |  Teen+  
COLLECTING ISSUES 1-5