Welcome to another group review. Harbinger Wars has been a book that we've helped tease, previewed and covered pretty damn extenstively on Comic Bastards. Today we're happy to have a review where the different writers will weigh in on the title and let you know if you should Buy, Borrow or Pass. If you're familiar with our past group reviews we like to leave the synopsis to the publisher and so here it is from Valiant:
For decades, Toyo Harada’s Harbinger Foundation and the government’s own Project Rising Spirit have been waging a secret war over the rarest resource known to man – the unruly superhuman telekinetics known as Harbingers. Over the years, they’ve each collected a small army of these empowered children to inflict their agendas on the world. But now, the reformed Harbinger hunter known as Bloodshot needs to atone for his crimes – and he’s going to start by releasing two dozen of the most volatile Harbingers from their PRS prison and into the world.
Bloodshot wants to lead them. Toyo Harada wants to control them. And Peter Stancheck, a teenage renegade with immense powers of his own, wants to give them free rein. But the runaway children of PRS have their own ideas for the future…and, as the body count rises, the Valiant Universe will realize that power this immense cannot be contained. It must be exercised. Who will survive the Harbinger Wars?
The first issue of any crossover has a tremendous amount of buildup and anticipation to it. It can literally make a break the entire crossover. This issue is probably one of the best crossover issues I’ve ever read. I found the payoff of the two series (Harbinger and Bloodshot) to be very rewarding. What was more surprising was the fact that the story caters to both new and current readers. It’s something that other companies have never managed to do in a crossover and yet Valiant and company have knocked it out of the park.
What’s even more interesting is that the promise from Valiant that there will be real ramifications after this event and after reading the first issue… I’m inclined to believe them. If you’ve been curious about Valiant’s titles then this is a great jumping on point for you and Harbinger Wars will likely help you decide which titles to buy.
Good reputations are harder to build than bad ones and if Harbinger Wars #1 is anything to go by then the praise given for the standard of Valiant’s artwork since their re-launch last summer has been well earned. I was impressed with the contributions of Henry, Crain and Suayan throughout - especially the painterly style adopted for the flashback sequence. Dysart’s writing provides moments of witty dialogue in an action packed and well-paced first issue, though unfortunately the size of the cast means there’s little room for characterization or development. I particularly enjoyed the bait and switch midway through the comic.
As someone who has only read a few issues set within the Valiant universe (neither Harbinger nor Bloodshot) I was pleased with how easy it was to pick up and enjoy this comic from my position of near total ignorance - the infographic page inside the cover was extremely helpful. Existing Valiant fans will be thrilled by the scope and intensity of this first issue and new readers who are trying the publisher for the first time will probably find themselves hungry for more.
I'm definitely interested in seeing how this story will play out; I have no doubt about that. It’s interesting seeing characters starting to crossover and interacts with each other. My main problem with this issue is the pacing. I found that it jumped around a bit too much and interrupted the flow of the story. It also felt a little too crammed with content. There was some flashback artwork when they describe the psiots' operations in China, it just didn't fit in with the rest of the issue, almost like an elephant in the room. It didn't sit right with me.
Look, I'm not saying it’s a horrible comic, far from it. Just for one that is the starter for Valiant's first major event, I feel it should've been a lot better than what it was. You want to keep people engaged through an entire event, not second guessing after one issue. I hope it picks up.