After going to bat for Secret Warps’ Weapon Hex being the strongest of all the infinity warps yet revealed in the most recent episode of the AiPT! Comics Podcast, I was eager to read her titular issue here in the new Secret Warps series. Hopeful that an opportunity to tell a longer form story would allow more character as well as personal stakes to shine through, and trusting that the very talented team of Al Ewing, Carlos Villa, Tim Seeley, and Bob Quinn could bring that to life, I dove headfirst into Weapon Hex and Speed Weasel’s world.
I was summarily disappointed by what I found.
What’s it about? Marvel’s preview reads:
SECRET WARPS,” PART 2 – INFERNO ATTACKS! Weapon Hex and Speed Weasel join the fight for Warp World as the forces of Hell invade the streets of New York City! PLUS: A bonus tale of the spellbound sisters taking down a ferocious furry femme!
The problem here is that Al Ewing’s story is not inherently about Weapon Hex or Speed Weasel, despite constantly trying to reinforce that it is. Sure, Weapon Hex — Hex-23 as she’s called — constantly refers to the foe here as “dad” (no less than 4 times, it’s…misplaced) but the bulk of the threat, the plot, the characters and the page-to-page dialogue are dedicated to a larger story that feels more personal for Soldier Supreme and Iron Hammer than it does Weapon Hex at all.
I can concede that this probably works for a larger context, and the connections to the previous issue are satisfying, but where you would expect at least character development in an eponymous book such as this — it falls short. Speed Weasel in particular feels like an amalgamation of all previous iterations of Honey Badger with no defining difference nor a connection to her Quicksilver side.
Villa’s effort, too, feels overly packed and focused on the wrong elements. The various spells, appended with their names, are a neat trick and I love Weapon Hex’s design whose physicality here is perfectly indicative of everything Laura Kinney, especially with the mask down and magic pouring out of the eye holes. But those moments are few and far between, and usually immediately downplayed or claustrophobically close to a scene dedicated to Iron Hammer or Supreme Soldier.
Thankfully, Seeley and Quinn’s effort, although shorter and significantly one-note, is sounder in structure and character. For a fairly decompressed story, the character development and dialogue driven nature of the narrative delivers a lot of what’s missing in Ewing’s lead-in. Speed Weasel feels more unique and realized, Laura’s voice is strong, and the play between the two of their stark characters works fantastically. The central “twist” and subsequent fight are lacking some inventiveness or more kinetic feeling art, almost making me wish the artists on these stories were swapped, but it holds strong enough in favor of the characters that it’s hard to fault.
Ultimately, while fun and novel in the same sense that any alternate dimension story is, this one lacks direction or purpose. I more immediate, personal feeling Weapon Hex story would’ve worked better as far as I’m concerned, but what’s here is just to little to latch onto that it feels unimportant. Disappointing, but not dismal.