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