We had so many group reviews this week we had to spread them out. We’ve been following Valiant’s crossover event since the beginning with group reviews so most of you are probably already reading ahead, but for those of you that are unfamiliar I’ll explain. Each of the writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give their opinion on the issue and also a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass. Before we begin though, here’s a blurb about the issue from Valiant: Harbinger Wars may be crossing the halfway mark this week, but things aren't slowing down one bit for Valiant's first crossover event in the pages of Harbinger Wars #3 (of 4) by Joshua Dysart, Duane Swierczynski, Clayton Henry and Pere Perez! You've heard about the Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps series that will be debuting in September... Now meet the weaponized men and women of the Harbinger Active Resistance Division as they drop in the Vegas strip for their first head-to-head confrontation with Bloodshot and the Harbinger Renegades.
The H.A.R.D. Corps come hard in this issue. They are just merciless bunch that completely surprised me with their induction into the story. I really enjoyed the pacing of this issue as it brings all of the groups closer and closer to each for the final showdown. At the beginning of the story it was as if we were following four lines of a story that are not finally reaching their intersection. For most crossovers it’s the opposite. They begin with everything intersecting at once and then work their way back from there. Marvel’s Age of Ultron is a prime example of this formula. While it works, I’ve found Dysart and Swierczynski’s style to be far more interesting.
The introduction of the HARD Corps was fantastic. They are a jacked up team and you can see why Bloodshot replaced them due to their obvious weakness, but at the same time they are way more brutal than he ever was. I’m very curious to see how it is that they come to work with their replacement in future issue.
The part of the story that pissed me off in a very good way was the Zygos twins. I’m pretty sure they’re evil as fuck or just stupid as they pit the Renegades against Bloodshot, even though they’re both there for the same reason. I agree with Bloodshot when he tells the girl Zygo that she’s his least favorite. That was probably my favorite line of the entire issue. That’s also why this crossover is so good. I care.
Through some intention of the comic industry they have groomed their readers to not care about the results of a crossover event. Usually because nothing changes after the event or at the very least it only leads to a micro change. More often than not it’s just to launch the next phase of marketing. With Harbinger Wars, I care about the characters. I care about what’s happening in the story. I care about the outcome. I fear that a character I like will be damaged in some way that will change them. There are real consequences to this story and that’s very clearly shown when the leader of the HARD Corps pops a kid in the head. A child… shot dead so that they can be recaptured and used as weapons. This is the best crossover of the year.
This has been a pretty cool series, I wasn't sold on the first issue but it has definitely improved with each. The action is intense and I enjoy seeing how all the characters act with each other and react to their constantly changing problems. And now that the H.A.R.D Corps have come in, things just got serious.
I'm digging the art and the writing, the two go together really well and the coloring touches it up, making it all look and read nice. I like that the Valiant Universe is expanding and interacting with each other, this is the kind of thing I want to see more of. If you're a fan of Valiant, old or new, then I definitely recommend this.
Score: BUY IT!
Story: Joshua Dysart & Duane Swierczynski
Writer: Joshua Dysart
Artist: Clayton Henry
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: 6/12/13