Synopsis: Toyo Harada’s machinations have drastically changed the world. Once his secrets were exposed by the Renegades, the lives of psiots, and potential psiots, were upended. Livewire, Harada’s former right hand, is now left to pick up the pieces. She has discovered that Harada housed some psiots off the books that he deemed unworthy. He has since abandoned them. Livewire must atone for the sins of the father, but will her efforts be enough against a deadly new threat?
Review: It is universally known that I adore the Harbinger storylines from Valiant. Some of the most dynamic moments have come from Peter and his Renegades. Through the years, we have learned that Toyo Harada has instituted a host of plans to achieve his goal of world peace through domination. However, not all plans come to fruition. The proof of this is “The Willows.” This is where Harada housed his “rejects.” Psiots whose abilities did not meet his approval. Seeing how Livewire confronts how her fellow psiots were mistreated is one of the strongest moments in the issue. Livewire was so devout when she followed her former leader, but now she is confronted with the truth. Harada never truly believed his own philosophy. Now, she is sifting through the cracks to protect those that the system has failed. We see these psiots living on the fringes of society, some of them homeless. We see them struggle just to survive day-to-day. Stories like these should be told more often, for they bring a credibility to their fictional worlds.
The art for this series feels out-of-place for the Valiant house style, and Secret Weapons #1 benefits greatly from this departure. There is mundaneness to the environment. A task which is really hard to accomplish in this bombastic world. Take Owen Cho’s powers for example. He has the ability to conjure objects. Other characters, with the same ability, are often depicted using colorful energies or elaborate gates to manifest objects, but, for Owen, things literally just “pop” into his hands. It is the small details that glue this story together seamlessly.
Some of the best stories are about unsung heroes, but what if you weren’t heroes to begin with? Secret Weapons seems to be addressing that very idea. In a world where people can lift battleships with their mind, where do you fit in if you can just make things glow? It is an idea that is often overlooked, yet could be full of rich storytelling. This series may prove that point wonderfully.