SECRET WEAPONS #1 [Review]: Powers.

Luke “Heirophant” Anderson
SECRET WEAPONS #1 – Valiant Comics

Valiant is so cool.

No, really.

Reading through Secret Weapons #1, the latest book to be released by Valiant (or as I call them, the real Marvel and the superior Image), I was struck by the lightness of feel, and the … cleverness of it all. Given the subject matter, what could have been Great Lakes Avengers or Legion of Substitute Heroes in the hammy hands of a bigger publisher, instead reads as something more like an indie small-town flick crossed with Runaways. Turns out the writer, Eric Heisserer is new to comics, but you might have seen his latest screenwriting effort, a little movie called Arrival. You know, that cool sci-fi flick that isn’t Interstellar.

Being paired with the excellent Raul Allen and Patricia Martin (they being he art team behind Ninjak, Ivar the Timewalker, and The Wrath of the Eternal Warrior) is a bonus; and gives this — the first comics outing for both writer, and this Harbinger offshoot team — a very familiar look and feel for Valiant readers.

The team of psiots with the powers too weird and seemingly useless for Harada to put to use in the main Harbinger is being hunted by a nightmarish thing that speaks in an unreadable dialect resembling QR code. It’s all pretty fun. Throw in Livewire from Unity, and it makes for a pretty wild outing, and a worthy addition to Valiant’s Harbinger canon. For new readers, I’d say that Valiant make pure comics, and don’t bully you into buying every book in existence – that’s my job. So, go buy this book, or I’ll kick you in the shins. 4.5/5 Lesser-Known Disciples.

“Cardinal” Gary Brooks
THE FLASH #21 – DC Comics

Hello again, faithful flock of the all mighty GHG, Cardinal Brooks here with my review of Flash #21 which the second part of “The Button” storyline that started in Batman #21. Said button is the very same iconic Watchmen button, worn by the Comedian! What is it doing in the DC universe, and what does it have to do with the death of the Flash’s greatest enemy? We still don’t know by the end of part two, but scribe Joshua Williamson and artist Howard Porter are crafting a great story so far, and it’ll be hard for readers to wait for the next chapter in this epic story.

This issue starts in a familiar way–at a crime scene–but in an unusual location– the Batcave–which has been trashed in a fight that almost cost Batman his life. We also see Barry processing the death of someone who took so much from him, while still investigating the said crime scene. At the end of the issue, Barry and Bats take a dangerous trip which gives us “The Button” yet another tasty cliffhanger. With the way it’s reading so far, this looks to be one of the best DC stories to come out of the Rebirth reboot. Bring it one boys!
4.5/5 Lightning Bolts.

Taffeta “Dutchess” Darling

With the return of “the character who has been labeled as one of the most controversial in Spider-Man’s history”, issue one of Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider takes place in the aftermath of “The Clone Conspiracy” (which I didn’t fucking read, because I don’t read much of the newer Spider-Man titles; yeah–that’s right). Ben is trying to find his way and make his mark in Las Vegas. He wants to be a “hero” — although he also wants to get paid or take a reward for saving random strangers — and obsessively goes out of his way to recreate what Peter Parker has including his own MJ and Aunt May.

Written by Peter David (Spider-Man 2099), the issue has some mild enjoyability to it, yet desperately wants to recapture the 90s nostalgia image that the character first came out swinging with. Overall, it’s a mediocre attempt and does little to establish the character except that he has a new attitude and can kind of be a dick. While I can appreciate Ben’s new snarky side, the constant reminders of just how different Ben is from Peter grew obnoxious after about six pages and I found myself rolling my eyes and remembering why I don’t read a lot of Marvel titles these days. If they’d stick with some consistency, I might find myself reading issue two of this.. ha, nah I won’t. The artistic combination of Mark Bagley, John Dell, and Jason Keith compliment this issue with its default cityscapes and backgrounds, but there’s nothing that really jumps out at me as an “amazing” panel. After reading this issue, I can pretty much set up the traditional Spider-Plot in my head instead. 2/5 Excelsiors.

“Sister” Savanna Leigh @SavannaDLeigh
ALIENS: DEAD ORBIT #1 – Dark Horse Comics

My first thought when I saw the cover of Aliens: Dead Orbit by James Stokoe, was “What was Moody thinking assigning me this?!” To be frank, I was not looking forward to the read, but went in with an open mind anywho.

Despite my damnedest to be fair, Aliens Dead Orbit was so hard to follow, and every character looked like they were distant cousins to Gorilla Grodd. Not only aesthetically unpleasant, but confusing since they all look the same! It also didn’t help my train of thought when my morkie kept humping his Cat in the Hat stuffed animal next to me.. but that’s all besides that point.
The worst part was that Aliens: Dead Orbit didn’t even get semi-interesting until the last page, and then it was over! A whole lot of nothing, and then some actual excitement at the very, very end. Yup. Sadly, it might be too little too late by that point. To give you a quick synopsis of Aliens: Dead Orbit — it starts with a team going to check out another space station that appears to have had a pretty substantial accident. The team wasn’t sure what to expect when they land on the station. Little did they know they would come face to face with a creature that looks similar to Spider-Man’s Venom mixed with GOT’s White Walkers. Now that’s an image! 2.5/5 Bibles.

JaDarrell “The Belser”
BLACK PANTHER #13 – Marvel

What’s up people?! It’s your boy the Belser back again to spread that sweet, hot, buttery comic book love all over the place. Gross metaphor, I know, but it’s been a minute since I’ve done this and, gosh darn it, I missed you guys. Your boy’s been busy but that does not stop me from being able to get my hands on the latest hot comics. Case in point, my subject matter for today: the newest issue of the latest ongoing Black Panther series. Now, I read this book enthusiastically the first few issues. I have to say it was kind of lackluster. A lot of the supporting characters tend to take over the book and that can take you out of it.

However, they are making a good turn in the right direction. Here’s the Story: in conjunction with his latest book (Black Panther and The Crew), King T’challa is looking for the entities his people pray, the Wakandan pantheon of Gods known as the Orishas. His main reasoning is because of the fact that Wakanda kind of has suffered a great deal in recent times. Civil war and unrest. Many attempts at conquest. Death and destruction. While all this has happened, they have been silent.  He wants to know why. In particular, the location of Bast the panther God that grand him his power. I really dig the detailed storytelling by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It’s very clear he’s a learned scholar and has a great deal of affection for this character. Also, I enjoyed the work of Wilfredo Torres. My favorite panels in this book are the ones depicting the looks of the Orishas themselves. The detail. The vibrant color. All so imaginative. 3.5/5 Bibles.

BATMAN/THE SHADOW #1 – DC/Dynamite Comics
“Saint” Patrick Obloy

It’s been a while since I’ve read anything with The Shadow, and admittedly I don’t fully know much about him or his story. I remember the movie with Alec Baldwin, but only vaguely. So it was interesting to find out that Batman and The Shadow were doing a joint series — especially once I read up on The Shadow and learned that he was used as the basis for the creation for Batman. The more you know! *cue the musical diddy*. I jumped right in, and after a few pages I was hooked; needing to know how The Shadow is involved and who he is. The story starts with an Arkham employee checking in on various villains locked in their cells. Seems like he’s having a good night, that is until a mysterious figure enters his life. The story, written by Steve Orlando (Midnighter) and Scott Snyder (Swamp Thing), is well written with good dialogue and a nice flow as well. The artwork, by Riley Rossmo, presents a slightly different look for Batman, but overall very nice, with striking scenes that really present the mysterious nature of The Shadow. This saint will be keeping an eye on this series. 3.5/5 Black Hats.

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