This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
All those innocent contractors hired to do the job were killed! Casualties of a war they had nothing to do with. All right, look, you’re a roofer, and some juicy government contract comes your way; you got the wife and kids and the two-story in suburbia — this is a government contract, which means all sorts of benefits. All of a sudden these left-wing militants blast you with lasers and wipe out everyone within a three-mile radius. You didn’t ask for that. You have no personal politics. You’re just trying to scrape out a living.
Violence is never a good look. Self-defense may justify it in some cases, but any innocents caught in the crossfire tar even the most noble motives. It turns heroes into villains and obscures the line between good and evil. I’ve had the luxury of thinking of this as a hypothetical question for most of my life, the kind of moral quandry characters might be confronted with in comics, but not exactly an active concern in my day to day life. But in a country facing the rise of white-supremacists, I can’t tell you how many think pieces I’ve read in the past two years debating the morality of punching nazis. More broadly, the questions are about when violence is justifiable, and how much collateral damage we’re willing to accept of said violence. These are exactly the questions everyone is weighing in Harbinger Wars 2 4, though they’re far from the only “ripped from the headlines” commentary in the issue, which paints a startlingly nuanced portrait of our times. Continue reading →
Patrick: Magneto controls magnetic fields. It’s an objectively cool super power, impossibly useful in every situation (and particularly useful against any otherwise unkillable enemy). In X2, Magneto uses this power rip microscopic particles of iron out of his prison guard’s bloodstream. He manipulates the magnetic fields around the resultant bloody cloud until he’s in control of free-flying bullets and hovering platforms. It’s an absurd demonstration of Magneto’s powers. There’s a lot to criticize in the logic of that scene, but it’s hard to fault the giddy enthusiasm. Writer Eric Heisserer and artists Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín show a similar enthusiasm for their characters’ powers. The difference is that they start from a ridiculous premise and work their way to exciting applications.
That’d be reason enough to love the conclusion of Secret Weapons, but Heisserer, Allén and Martín hold the comic book medium in the same high esteem as the goofy powers their characters posses. Just as Avi, Nikki and Owen apply their simple skills in ingenious ways, so too does the creative team master the page with mindblowingly intuitive art. Continue reading →
This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.
Short form and episodic storytelling often relies on character tropes – this is doubly true in genre stories, where the character types are so well established. Eric Heisserer, in an incredibly tight three issues (of four total), refuses such predictability, finding exciting, engaging and innovative ways to insist on the very real nature of his characters. Heisserer seemingly has shortcuts into the human psyche, hacking his way in through seldom-used sociological and emotional channels. The whole series premise is about not taking even the dumbest superpowers for granted, but this issue starts to turn to a much more simple mantra: don’t take these people for granted. Continue reading →