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Early Review: Secret Weapons #1

SW_001_VARIANT_HITCHThe government has dispatched Amanda McKee – the technopath codenamed Livewire – to investigate the ruins of a secret facility formerly run by Toyo Harada, the most powerful telepath on Earth and her former mentor. In his quest for world betterment at any cost, Harada sought out and activated many potential psiots like himself. Those who survived, but whose powers he deemed to have no value to his cause, were hidden away at this installation. But Livewire, having studied Harada’s greatest strengths and learned his deepest weaknesses, senses opportunity where he once saw failure. A young girl who can talk to birds… A boy who can make inanimate objects gently glow… To others, these are expensive disappointments. But, to Livewire, they are secret weapons…in need of a leader. Now, as a mechanized killer called Rex-O seeks to draw them out, Livewire and her new team of cadets will be forced to put their powers into action…in ways they never could have imagined

The two questions I had going into Secret Weapons #1 were whether it would possible for somebody who had never read a Valiant comic, or had only the faintest familiarity with the publisher’s characters, to enjoy the comic without any difficulties; and what the hell the comic was about because I’ve honestly heard absolutely nothing about it other than Valiant fans are starting to get excited about the series. Now had I read the preview text above before I read the comic itself then the second question would have been answered before I turned the first page. So if you’ve never read a Valiant comic but want to start, then do what I didn’t and read the preview text; doing that will put you more or less at a place where you can start reading without any previous Valiant experience; what you don’t know you’ll pick up as you go.

Now the question that you’re all here for is whether (I think) the comic is any good, and without dragging the answer out, yes. It’s really an incredible read.

But I had to read it twice to let it sink in, and I’m writing this two days after having received the review copy in my inbox, so I’ve really let the issue permeate in my brain, as it were. To call Eric Heisserer a comics newcomer wouldn’t be a falsehood, but there’s a good chance you know his name and pedigree as he’s the Academy Award nominated screenwriter behind last year’s phenomenal Arrival. His script here is fantastic, focusing more on the unknown newcomers to the Valiant universe rather than Livewire, although her abilities are used in some brilliant ways when she does appear.

Raul Allen is a revelation illustrating the comic (although Patricia Martin is also credited, I’m unsure how the workload was divided between the two artists), with some of the most exciting page layouts I’ve seen in quite some time. There is a LOT of detail packed into each panel, with the art telling as much of the story as the words, which is part of the reason I had to read the comic multiple times prior to writing this.

Secret Weapons #1 isn’t the explosive issue that will draw you in with a bang right from the first page, but it is the comic that sets up what looks to be one hell of a story – and based on one issue of each, looks to be the superior story starting with the word Secret that’s being released this year. Secret Weapons #1 is an intelligently crafted, beautifully illustrated opening chapter in what looks to be another home run for Valiant.

Story: Eric Heisserer Art: Raul Allen and Patricia Martin
Story: 8.75 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

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