All the comic news, from the lat­est ti­tles to top events.

Ar­rival screen­writer Eric Heis­serer re­veals to Stephen Jewell how he is bring­ing Se­cret Weapons back for Valiant

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Se­cret Weapons started out a team book in the 1990s star­ring heavy-hit­ters like Solar, X-O Manowar and the Geo­mancer. Now, Valiant is re­viv­ing Se­cret Weapons in June in a new minis­eries, with a new team leader, Livewire. The four‑parter is be­ing writ­ten by Ar­rival screen­writer Eric Heis­serer, who first fell in love with Livewire, the technopath oth­er­wise known as Amanda McKee, when he in­cluded her in his screen­play for Sony’s up­com­ing big screen adap­ta­tions of Valiant prop­er­ties Har­bin­ger and Blood­shot.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited about it,” says Heis­serer, who stud­ied both Livewire’s ear­lier ad­ven­tures and her more re­cent ap­pear­ances in ti­tles like Unity and Har­bin­ger. “I’ve done a lit­tle of that work, and she’s changed a lit­tle in the way that Josh Dysart worked with the char­ac­ter in the early Har­bin­ger days has in­formed more than any­thing.”

Livewire was men­tored by Har­bin­ger founder Toyo Harada, and Heis­serer is im­pressed by how she has stuck to her guns even af­ter his even­tual be­trayal. “I like the fact that her dis­ci­pline and her moral com­pass have en­dured even when the per­son who taught her a lot of the prin­ci­ples and philoso­phies by which she ap­proaches life then turned out to be cor­rupt and also to have made ter­ri­ble mis­takes,” he says. “I find it re­ally com­pelling that she can still hold on to her val­ues and the virtues that she’s learned, and that’s why I find her to be such a heroic per­son.”

De­scrib­ing the team as “a rag-tag col­lec­tion of kids,” Heis­serer re­veals that the ros­ter will also in­clude Nikki Finch, “who can com­mu­ni­cate with birds,” and Owen Cho, a con­juror “who can make things ma­te­ri­alise out of thin air, al­though he has no con­trol of what he con­jures.” There’s also Martin, “who can make any inan­i­mate ob­ject phos­pho­res­cent, so he lit­er­ally glows in the dark.” Then “there’s Su­nil, who can turn his skin or any­thing he is in con­tact with into al­abaster, mar­ble or stone, as if he was The Thing. The dis­ad­van­tage of that is that he can’t move when he does that, so he’s a to­tal statue, mean­ing that what­ever po­si­tion he is in, he’s stuck in it un­less he de­ac­ti­vates it.” Heis­serer prom­ises to in­tro­duce some other char­ac­ters in later is­sues.

With their out­sider sta­tus and off­beat abil­i­ties, the Weapons re­sem­ble Marvel’s Merry Mu­tants. “There’s ab­so­lutely a com­par­i­son there, and I draw from that,” ad­mits Heis­serer. “But what they draw from as well is that sit­u­a­tion when you’re grow­ing up and you’re in your teenage years or even your child­hood years, or if you have any phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity or if there’s any other part of your de­vel­op­ing life that you’re strug­gling with. It could also be a learn­ing curve, or your teach­ers or par­ents tell you you’re not go­ing to make it, you’re not go­ing to fit in. Usu­ally out­casts are peo­ple who are told by oth­ers that they’re out­casts, be­cause no­body does it will­ingly to them­selves.”

Al­though he ini­tially penned quite de­tailed scripts, Heis­serer has adopted a more flex­i­ble ap­proach since strik­ing up a rap­port with Span­ish artist Raúl Al­lén, who has pre­vi­ously drawn se­ries like Wrath of the Eter­nal War­rior for Valiant. “Back when I wrote the first is­sue, I didn’t know I was go­ing to get Raúl,” he says. “Since then I’ve been a lot looser with my panel de­scrip­tions. I don’t want to re­strain him too much. I’d rather he just let his imag­i­na­tion run away with him.” Se­cret Weapons #1 is pub­lished on 28 June.

Her prin­ci­ples and moral com­pass have en­dured even when the per­son who taught her a lot of that turned out to be cor­rupt

Guest-star­ring Ca­ble, Domino, Shat­ter­star and Cain, Dead­pool: Bad

Blood is more like a team book fea­tur­ing all of the pop­u­lar char­ac­ters that Rob Liefeld cre­ated for Marvel. Hark­ing back to the Im­age Comics co-founder’s for­ma­tive days on ti­tles like New Mu­tants and X-Force, the 112-page graphic novel in­tro­duces a new ad­ver­sary, Thumper, who boasts an in­trigu­ing con­nec­tion to the Merc with the Mouth’s past.

“He has bad blood with Dead­pool,” says Liefeld. “The story starts with a flash­back that takes you back to 1991, so you see an un­told tale of how a sit­u­a­tion un­folded with Dead­pool, Ca­ble and the X-Force team. Out of that, you’ll then see Dead­pool with Domino and Cain in the present day. There are a lot of se­crets and mys­ter­ies to be re­vealed, as we’re go­ing all the way back to Dead­pool’s child­hood.”

Dead­pool made his bow in 1991’s New Mu­tants #98, and Liefeld has since then re­turned to his most pop­u­lar cre­ation on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. “I was 21 when I first came up with Dead­pool, and we’re now way past that,” he says, ac­knowl­edg­ing that his ap­proach has in­evitably been in­flu­enced by last year’s big screen block­buster.

“It’s hard not to hear Ryan Reynolds’ voice,” he ad­mits. “It’s a bit like when Robert Downey Jr first por­trayed Iron Man… But the shadow of the movie is a good thing to have over the book, and it was there the en­tire time that we were putting the book to­gether. We’ve tried to give it a bit of heart, as I felt that the heart that was in the film was what peo­ple loved about it the most. That’s why you rooted for him, whether he was zany, sin­is­ter or ruth­less. We’ve tried to make it as funny as we pos­si­bly can, and I think that the ac­tion we por­tray is top notch.”

While Liefeld has plot­ted, pen­cilled and inked the comic, he brought in Chad Bow­ers and Chris Sims as co-writ­ers. “I’ve cre­ated the story and the sto­ry­telling, but I’ve passed the script on to those two guys as I think they han­dle di­a­logue and ban­ter bet­ter than me,” says Liefeld, who also re­cruited Bow­ers to pen the new Young­blood se­ries.

“Chad is a child of the ’90s, and he told me that he bought all those books when he was a teenager, and that Young­blood is one of his favourite comics,” Liefeld con­tin­ues. “He hasn’t dis­ap­pointed, as the story Young­blood: Re­born is my favourite ap­proach to Young­blood in the last twenty years, and the artist, a new­comer called Jim Towe, is a won­der­ful sto­ry­teller and il­lus­tra­tor.”

Dead­pool: Bad Blood is pub­lished on 17 May.

We’re go­ing back to Dead­pool’s child­hood

Spy games

Garth En­nis and Russ Braun are set to launch 007 par­ody Jimmy’s Bas­tards in June, from After­shock. The se­ries fol­lows a wom­an­is­ing su­per-spy whose ro­man­tic mis­ad­ven­tures come back to haunt him.

JAY LYNCH 1945-2017

Un­der­ground comix cre­ator Jay Lynch has passed away at the age of 72. He was best known for his work on Ba­zooka Joe, Bi­jou Fun­nies, Nard ’n’ Pat and for draw­ing many of the cult Garbage Pail Kids trad­ing cards.

Lost girls found

Alan Moore and Melinda Geb­bie’s epic erotic comic Lost Girls (where Dorothy Gale, Wendy Dar­ling and Alice from Alice In Won­der­land have a very nice time to­gether) is to get an ex­panded edi­tion with 32 more pages of horny fairy­tale fun.

Myth busters

Sky­bound and Im­age are set to re­lease Kill The Mino­taur, a blood-soaked mytho­log­i­cal fan­tasy from the team of Chris Pasetto, Chris­tian Can­tamess, Lukas Ket­ner and Jean-Fran­cois Beaulieu. The first is­sue is out on 14 June.

Trumped

Think the cur­rent US Pres­i­dent’s tweets are bark­ing? Mad car­toon­ist Shan­non Wheeler agrees. Sh*t My Pres­i­dent Says, due in Au­gust from IDW, trans­forms Trump’s tweets into in­ci­sive po­lit­i­cal car­toons.

Oliver Nome 1978-2017

Just as we were go­ing to press we heard the tragic news that Wolver­ine and Flash­point artist Oliver Nome has passed away. Comic He­roes of­fers its con­do­lences to all of this tal­ented artist’s friends and family.

RAIS­ING HECK

Clive Barker has an­nounced Hell­raiser: An­thol­ogy. The 90-page hard­cover book will in­clude 11 sto­ries from a host of creators in­clud­ing Nick Per­ci­val, Daniele Serra, Ben Meares and Barker him­self. Ex­pect blood, mis­ery and a soupçon of S&M.

DEAD END?

Archie Comics are promis­ing death and drama with “Over The Edge” – a three­is­sue arc set in the new Archie con­ti­nu­ity that prom­ises to be “the big­gest event in Archie his­tory”. Mark Waid writes and Pete Woods draws the sto­ry­line, which kicks off in Archie #20.

Owen, Nikki, Martin, Su­nil – pos­si­bly not your usual su­per­pow­ered team.

Livewire taps into tech. Other char­ac­ters have odder abil­i­ties (be­low).

The cover by se­ries artist Raúl Al­lén. Three vari­ant cov­ers are also planned.

Liefeld pro­duced all the art on the new graphic novel, but worked with Chad Bow­ers and Chris Sims on the script.

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