by Patrick Ehlers
This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.
January’s Secret Weapons 0 was all about Nikki’s growth from high school senior to effective super heroine. It’s a straight line of dissolving relationships and withering opportunities, a chain of events where one cause naturally leads to the next effect. That’s moving, effective storytelling. But that’s not always reflective of life, is it? Secret Weapons: Owen’s Story 0 takes a similar concept and muddles it up, making Owen’s saga less like a line and more like a web of trivial connections. Writer Eric Heisserer and artists Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín lean on the oddly symmetric structures present in a series of seemingly unrelated stories, and though they arrive at a slight conclusion, it is all the more meaningful for being fully earned.
It helps that Allén and Martín find a nice design-y link between the slow chaos of Owen’s life and tarot cards early on. The layouts in this issue are staggering — as they are in all Allén / Martín joints — but they wear their specific inspiration on their collective sleeve in this installment. Multiple pages place a tarot card right in the center of the page.
The parallels between the page and card are obvious: symmetry, repeated use of shapes and colors. Hell, even the shape of the leaves of the flower (err… whatever it is on the card) is echoed in the shape of the trim of the fortuneteller’s table cloth.
That practically insists that we, like Owen, try to search for meaning in this random assemblage of stories about objects he willed into existence. Heisserer speaks about this in the interview in the back of the issue (which is totally worth the read, by the way): some of the objects are immediately useful, some are emotional, some are only half-useful later and used for a purposes just slightly off their intended use. Ultimately, Owen’s gift gives him the ability to interact with the people in his life and that’s it. And while that may not make him the most effective superhero, it is incredibly sweet.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?