Review: Secret Weapons #1

With Secret Weapons, Livewire is finally getting the lead she deserves.  Amanda McKee is one of the most powerful heroes in the Valiant Universe, but she has often been relegated to a helping hand whenever the Unity team is called out to handle some trouble, but rarely gets to play up to her full strength on her own.

This book is not only a great place for Livewire to shine as a solo hero, but it serves as a good introduction to the Valiant Universe for people who’ve been interested but didn’t know where to start.  It introduces new readers to concepts like psiots (think Marvel’s mutants, but they don’t automatically get their powers at puberty).  New readers also meet two of the biggest big bads — the insidious alien invaders The Vine as well as Toyo Harada the most powerful psiot (like Magneto, but more devious and more practical).

Screenwriter Eric Heisserer also takes care of long time Valiant readers. These concepts are introduced on the run as Livewire is called in to investigate one of Harada’s abandoned facilities in Oklahoma. It turns out that Harada used this place to keep psiots whose powers he couldn’t find a use for, such as a woman who can talk to birds and a guy who can make objects glow. Livewire wants to find the six former inhabitants to make sure that they are safe.

The question is will these people who have been hidden away and then abandoned by Harada instead of being welcomed into the community of psiots, trust Livewire? She was at one time Harada’s most trusted assistant.  Will they believe that she has really turned away from Harada’s path?

She isn’t the only one seeking them out, though.  A vine creature is also hunting them down in order to steal the psiots’ powers at the cost of their lives. Livewire is too late to save the first of these, but finds two others while she takes on the Vine.

While it isn’t the cleanest, Raúl Allén (Bloodshot Reborn, Ninjak) and Patricia Martín’s (Bloodshot Reborn, Wrath of the Eternal Warrior) art plays a large part in the success of this book. Several key scenes are nearly wordless and beautifully done. But they need to work on the characters’ faces. They are roughly drawn and seem to be squinting most of the time.

Despite these flaws, the book is an exciting read. Dealing with the continued fallout of Harada’s fall, Secret Weapons looks at those who have been made the most vulnerable in the aftermath. It ends on a great cliffhanger that will leave you wanting the next book right away.

Writer: Eric Heisserer
Artists: Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

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