Secret Weapons #2
Writer: Eric Heisserer
Artists: Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín
Letterer: Patricia Martín
After its strong start, Secret Weapons second issue brings both the current threat and grander direction of the series more clearly into focus, but fails at telling as compelling a story, one that is clearly made for Valiant diehards instead of readers interested in Eric Heisserer’s work or intrigued by the cover or artwork.
Abandoning last issue’s cliffhanger entirely, this focuses largely on Nikki Finch, Owen Cho, and Amanda McKee, a.k.a. Livewire, and their search for information on Rex-0, who is hunting Psiots rejected by Toyo Harada’s Harbinger program. Though the art remains strong, the characterization slips from last issue. The dialogue is less enjoyable and more stilted. This is most apparent with Nikki Finch, even in her first few lines. Nikki quirkiness is likely meant to be endearing, but this doesn’t really work, and, paired with the fact that she’s the only Willow program member who can hold her own in a fight, it makes her character less believable or relatable. Also, the interaction between the characters gives us little in terms of who they are beyond their simple power sets. This is particularly true of Avichal, who doesn’t do much this issue but get attacked and dress like a sheriff for no reason.
Heisserer does introduce us to the villain behind Rex-0, though this is more of a failed attempt at a shocking twist than anything meaningful, and, while it raises the stakes slightly, the inclusion of the ending doesn’t have any real impact.
Probably the most substantial bit in the issue has little to do with Secret Weapons and more to do with the forthcoming Harbinger Wars 2 event. The inclusion of another Unity member in the issue will likely interest Valiant fans, but new fans are left unaware of the impact of the character or his history in any way, with only long time fans likely to even discern the character’s identity without help.
The art, however, delivers just as it did last issue, though Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín are given less interesting subject matter this time around. The standout is the sequence with Livewire looking for Rex-0 on the internet, though this is hardly that novel of an approach to this kind of thing. Also, the color scheme largely stays in place from last issue; time will tell if the repetitive choices make the story more cohesive or if it will just begin to feel redundant.
While clearly executed by a talented team, Secret Weapons #2 doesn’t do a very good job of justifying its existence outside of a bridge series to the next major Valiant event, which is disappointing, since the series had so much potential in its premiere issue.