Harbinger as a series was one of the highlights of the vaunted and much hyped relaunch of the Valiant line – they all blew me and many readers away, but Harbinger and the adventures of Peter, Faith and all the rest were so central to the new world shared by these comics and left us all with a world of heartbreak and heroes scattered.
That is not an easy place to pick up from and I was actually hesitant to delve into it. But having read Rafer’s other work at Valiant and having had good reason to have faith in the book given the quality of story-telling in these comics, I eventually gave in and I’m glad I did.
This first volume of this new series has been gripping.
From the way the fallout of the Renegades actions are impacting the world and the young, latent psiots. There were aspects reminiscent of the oldest X-Men comics, which in turn were very much a commentary on fear, discrimination and reactionary thought – all of which are sadly still relevant even today, decades later.
We see power plays, we get the gut-punch events that lead the surviving Renegades to find their way back to each other as a team, as a family, reluctantly but because circumstance has left them no choice.
We also get to see what happened to Peter Stanchek, one of the most powerful beings on Earth, who was dealing with his mental demons and drug-addicted past as well as the emotional after-shocks of how the previous Harbinger series ended. And it is a mind-blower – for this alone I give Roberts major kudos, loved the idea and LOVED the execution of it.
Most importantly, we get some interesting new antagonists now that Toyo Harada is otherwise occupied elsewhere – and as we all know, without a good villain, a story can be far less interesting.
And to top it all off, the artwork is being done by none other than Darrick Robertson whose artwork has always been utterly brilliant from the very first comic of his I came across (Transmetropolitan, The Boys, etc…) and Juan Jose Ryp who I first saw over at Avatar Press is no slouch and in fact a force to be reckoned with in comic artwork. Between them they have made one hell of a beautiful book here – as evidenced just by the image I’ve attached below, all by itself. This is a great looking comic.
If you like Valiant comics and you liked Harbinger, you MUST read this series.
Also, on a personal note: If you have not been reading Valiant comics, you really, really should – because if this series and the current ongoing X-O Manowar prove anything, it’s that keeping their line of books lean and mean and focussing on quality over quantity is making Valiant an under-rated powerhouse to be reckoned with and one deserving of much more respect and appreciation in a market being flooded with entertaining but ultimately passable superhero, action and sci-fi fare that tries to live and bank on hype, nostalgia and the like instead of just making a damned good book.