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Nostalgia November Day 22 — Secret Weapons #2

Each day in November, I will read and review/discuss/whatever one comic taken from a box of some of my childhood comics. Today, it’s Secret Weapons #2.

The Nostalgia November archive can be found here.

secretweapons02Secret Weapons #2 by Joe St. Pierre concludes the story where Master Darque uses Dr. Eclipse to eliminate Solar and summon a demon of some sort. It’s an odd issue that doesn’t entirely match up with the first two parts of the story as it begins with Eclipse pissed off at Darque because he’s dead and just a being of pure energy — he can’t feel anything. It’s not like when he had some of Solar’s powers… that was fun and pleasurable, this is just… there. So he kills a town in order to acquire the necromantic energy to use against Darque, which is exactly what Darque wants. Meanwhile, the group of heroes split into two groups: one to go after Darque, the other Eclipse. The trio that goes after Darque rescue Shadowman on the way from a horde of the undead that Darque sent to protect his home, but they make short work of them. The trio that goes after Eclipse don’t really do any harm to him… until they’re all sucked up into a hole in space… Which was Darque’s way of summoning him so Eclipse can act as host to the demon. Darque summons the demon, but it hesitates because Solar isn’t dead. This is the part where Solar breaks free from Eclipse, Eclipse is dead (or as dead as an exploded energy being can be), and Darque’s plans are thwarted.

It’s a very quick wrap-up and one that feels a little out of sync with what came before, particularly Eclipse’s views on Darque. Where did his problem with their deal come from? Last we saw of Eclipse, he was pretty happy with the bargain he struck, so beginning this issue with his dissatisfaction seems like an odd choice. It has a ‘everything you knew was wrong’ feel since there was no indication of this direction before. The elimination of the threat was obvious and… convenient isn’t the right word, but it’s not far off. As quickly as it begins, it ends.

Joe St. Pierre’s art is roughly the same as last issue with one change: Dr. Eclipse is drawn differently. There’s a strong use of white to show the definition of his body where previously that wasn’t done or, in Solar #25, green was used. It looks better, honestly, and it’s a shame they didn’t do it sooner. He looks creepier, more like the opposite of what he should look like since we’re used to black lines being used to show detail and definition.

The weirdest part of the issue, though, is how it ends. The issue ends with a short little ‘story’ that takes up most of the final page, done a very blocky art style that’s about a girl who’s abused by her father, physically and sexually, and he’s killed, but he’s not? The final panel is Darque’s face in shadows, eyes red, and his tattoos visible. I have never known what to make of this page and I still don’t. It comes out of nowhere and has no direct link to the story. Anyone know what it’s all about?

And that concludes, judging by the comments, the least popular part of Nostalgia November. Later tonight, I’ll do the second half of Reign of the Supermen and, tomorrow, something that wasn’t published by Valiant.

8 Comments

The quality of Valiant comics immediately went off the deep end once Shooter left, and this comic exemplifies that fact. Darque had all the makings of a great villain and the idea of an Avengers-like book in the Valiant universe should have rocked. What a shame. Here’s hoping when Dark Horse gets its act together, the new Gold Key relaunch will recapture some of that lightning in the bottle Shooter had back in the day.

If I remember that last page correctly it’s almost a line for line, panel for panel reference to the end of the Unity crossover (or at least a chapter of the Unity crossover) and the girl is supposed to be Erica Pierce who was that story’s villian. I think I always interpreted that as showing us that the demon Darque was trying to summon was Pierce, but the whole thing was pretty vague and never really followed up on.

Thanks, Todd! That makes sense.

I loved the Valiant stuff up until Chaos Effect. After that…yeesh.

The last page was a reference to Unity, yeah. Erica Pierce was the “demon” Darque was trying to summon, which is really stupid and totally misuses Unity and misses the point of what Valiant comics was all about (for the first 2 years) in the first place. This story through to the Chaos Effect is definetly where you can see the crash and burn of Valiant (everything after Chaos Effect is just continued burning).

Chad, you never read Unity? It’s one of my top 5 “events” of all time, and one of the few things I read as a 12 year old that holds up when i re-read it as an adult. It makes me sort of sad when people have only read stuff like this and not the “real” Valiant (everything up till about 6 moths after Shooter left).

I read it when I was 12 or 13… and remember very little of it.

how much you think this issue is worth?

I think roughly 25 cents.

Issues later on towards the end of Valiant being in business (like late issues of The Visitor) can actually fetch some decent change.

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