I continue my discovery of the Valiant Comics Universe with Harbinger #21, the latest issue from Valiant Comics, released this Wednesday, and written by Joshua Dyant, with artwork from Clayton Henry, colours from Brian Reber and cover art from both Clayton Henry & Zachary Montoya.
Valiant Comics have been putting out an excellent series in the form of Eternal Warrior and it’s safe to say that with another fun book in the form of Harbinger based on what this issue has given us they’re really establishing themselves as a publisher to watch out for. The second part of Harbinger’s Resistance arc probably wasn’t the best jumping on point, and is not recommended as a first issue for new readers, but the issue itself is strong enough to keep the reader invested and begging for more.
The Renegades are on the run from the combined forces of the Harbinger Foundation and Project Rising Spirit and this issue sees the team cool down. With the introduction of new team member @x, a hacker, this issue plays out very much like an issue designed to show what the team do when they’re cooling down rather than fighting. There is a handy recap page at the beginning of the issue designed to get readers up to speed on past events, which was quite handy from the perspective of somebody who’s never read an issue of Harbinger before.
The main characters are certainly quite interesting to read about. There’s Peter Stanchek, a young man who grew up on the streets and was gifted with incredible psionic abilities, who found himself recruited by Harbinger Foundaton’s leader Toyo Harada, with the purpose of exploiting Peter. However, now Peter has escaped the Harbringer Foundation after training there, and now has recruited a group of like-minded young people with powers. It could easily be something out of an X-Men book, but Dyant helps make the series look and feel different to what you might get at Marvel with several fun banter between the cast members who are looking very interesting and diverse, so it’ll be interesting to see how this team continues to develop in future issues. Aside from @x, the newest member – there’s also the likes of Flamingo, Torque, Zephyr and Kris Hathaway. The characters who get the most attention in this issue are @x, Zephyr, Torque and Flamingo, and it was nice to learn more about these characters in particular even if it was brief and wouldn’t have the same impact if it had been discovering this title through a trade as opposed to a single issue that is the twenty-first in an ongoing series and the second part in an ongoing arc. (But this is something that’s entirely my fault).
The issue itself is fairly simple and easy to understand what’s going on. The book doesn’t turn out to be the high-stakes and adrenaline packed issue that the solicit hints at however, as this book itself allows for the characters to be fleshed out as things that are commonly dealt with by young people are touched upon here, stress, insecurity, love etc – a variety of topics are covered in this issue and they are for the most part touched upon well.
The artwork is pretty solid from Clayton Henry. His visuals are clear and crisp and when supported by Brian Reber the book’s quality is enhanced quite a bit. It’s quickly becoming the case that this is the sort of the book that flies under the radar, and is not nearly getting as much attention as it deserves, much like Valiant Comics as a whole – because based on what experience there is from Harbinger #21, as well as Greg Pak’s Eternal Warrior it’s quite clear that this publisher’s quality work should see them receive the same amount of recgonition as the likes of Image, Dark Horse and other similar publishers. Valiant and Harbinger are just that awesome.