There’s a trope in movies and TVs that I cannot stand, when it comes to people gaining extra-normal abilities: Oh woe is me, I just want to be normal. Really? Because if I could live a cement truck over my head or mentally control ice-cream, I’d be thrilled. Who wants to be normal after all? We’re all searching for that extra something in life, that defines us and makes us stand out from the pack.
We all want to believe that there’s something unique about us, something inherently singular to our very being. In Valiant Entertainment’s Secret Weapons is a fantastic examination of wanting to be something in life. In a universe filled with telekinetic powerhouses and immortal warriors from across time and space, it’s the Psiots who make up the bulk of Valiant’s super-powered human arsenal.
How far would you go to have such power however? What if I told you, that not only was there a slim chance of you even having the potential to be a latent Psiot in that universe, but that activating your powers came with a high chance of your brain exploding in the process? Hell, and this is before you even know what you’re exactly capable of even.
Secret Weapons is psionically-powered gamble from writer Eric Heisserer and Adam Pollina, that charts the journey of Nikki Finch. She’s typical of her generation: Aimless, looking for meaning and stuck in a world where the only person you can rely on in life, is yourself. Given a chance to be part of a larger picture, Nikki takes a chance and unlocks her latent Psiot ability.
What does she get? Super-strength? Control over machines? Yoghurt manipulation? Nope, Nikki unlocks the ability to talk to birds. Naturally, said power isn’t exactly useful for Toyo Harada and his Harbinger Foundation, as Nikki finds herself shipped off to a school for Psiot rejects whose powers wound up being less than ideal.
Cue an invasion, a global leak of secrets revealing the identities of every Psiot on the planet and a massive manhunt for the superpowered youth in revolt, and Secret Weapons quickly finds its footing. Pollina’s art is gorgeous stuff, a constant and consistent flashing forward through the future as the character of Nikki is defined in each panel and page of her origin story.
It’s a gruelling tale from Heisserer, one that finds Nikki at the very bottom of society eventually. She’s homeless, she’s on the run and she has no one to rely on besides the chatty pigeons around her. It’s here where the story defines her, as Nikki’s lowest point enables her greatest change. It’s often said that there’s nowhere to go but up when you hit bottom, and Secret Weapons hammers that idea home when Nikki genuinely considers committing suicide.
It’s a brief handful of panels, where Nikki’s written-off powers help save her in the end. It’s also proof that any gift we have, has the potential to not only change our lives but to also save it. Finding that gift and accepting it, is the real challenge that we all face. Haunting yet hopeful, there’s a youthful energy in Secret Weapons #0 that’s hard to beat.
Last Updated: January 8, 2018