The year spent waiting for issue #3 was well worth it.
It may have been more than a year since its last offering, and memory may not be able to recall what happened previously, but Jonathan Hickman and Ryan Bodenheim’s Secret has finally arrived. Secret originally released at a time when Hickman seemed like he was ruling the comics industry, with countless books being released at both Image and Marvel. While many of them stayed on regular release schedules, we can chalk it up to a heavy workload that one of Hickman’s many titles had to give, and Secret it was. The time between issues was well spent, however, as the story is just as cryptic, fast paced, and above all else beautiful to behold.
Those acquainted with Hickman’s “long form” style will be familiar to how a middle chapter reads. Issue #3 stands well on its own, and is quite exciting at times, but it clearly feels like its just a small chunk in an ever building story. Hickman cleverly works in both character history, current predicaments, and future tensions into one smooth story that when read with the previous two chapters and whatever comes next will culminate into a powerful arc.
The truly impressive aspect of Secret #3 is, however, Ryan Bodenheim’s art. Bodehheim may be one of the best untapped talents in the comics industry today. Bodenheim frequently uses the wide cinematic style of framing that fills the page well, but constantly uses some of the freshest and most interesting ways of staging individual scenes. A single panel, for example, frames a deadly fight scene that captures the action from both the front and rear simultaneously, which is no easy feat in itself. Though Hickman is creating the world of Secret, Bodenheim is wholly responsible for giving the book its unique appeal.
Secret #3 was well worth the wait, but the year in between issues will hopefully not be repeated. Jonathan Hickman, in typical fashion, is slowly building towards something huge, and the small bits of information we learn through each release will certainly keep me coming back for more. Secret may not be for everyone, but for a fan of action, espionage, or conspiracy, this is the right book for you.
Jonathan Hickman (W), Ryan Bodenheim (A) Michael Garland (C) • Image Comics, $3.50, August 28, 2013.