Harbinger Wars ended last week and it was a very different way to end the event for Valiant. Rather than some epic battle it stayed right in line with the tone and style that the series had from the very beginning. That is to say that it was a consistent reading experience from beginning to end. With Harbinger releasing the week after Harbinger Wars and still dealing with HW, I had to wonder what this series would tell the reader that HW didn’t already. Short answer… a lot. In some ways, this issue is better than HW’s conclusion; mostly because we get to see the end of the 1969 Harbinger Wars and its crazy awesome. This issue begins with the first war in full swing, but really it’s just Hunter’s projections placed on the troops so that they attack each other. Harada and his two soldiers just float above the conflict watching them destroy themselves. Carter shows himself on a large screen and Harada breaks the screen revealing Carter sitting in a room behind it. The room is full of tortured pisot animals and Carter and Harada have a war of words as we wait for the final conflict to go off. Carter removes his helmet and reveals his disfigured brain from two years of torture. He begins to attack the room with his mind and his psiot talents that Harada has never seen before. This moment alters Harada’s course forever.
Back in Vegas we mostly follow Faith who has been at the center of this story line in many ways. Her mind is being controlled by one of Bloodshot’s kids Clem and she speaks to him telepathically. We see the Renegades fight with Bloodshot, but again through Faith’s eyes. Then Kris spots some fighter planes coming and they fire a missile directly at her location. Kris begins to say goodbye to everyone but Faith springs into action and practices something Simon told her about the “companion field.” Not wanting her friends to die she flies by the missile and takes it with her in her field.
I absolutely loved this issue and Faith’s narrative. She’s an amazing character and I will give a quick SPOILER and say that she lives. If she didn’t than this team would have lost its heart. Peter is the leader, but they all want to live up to Faith’s standards and that’s fantastic. Dysart does a great job of wrapping the story line and even addressing the ending. It’s like he knew that most people were just expecting the battle to get bigger and bigger and instead of trying to meet an impossible standard he hits you with a realistic ending. The good guys don’t always win, but they survive to fight another day and I’ll take that ending over a campy “everyone wins” style of ending any day. If Faith isn’t your favorite or one of your favorites by the end of this issue then I’d suggest re-reading the story arc.
Well it looks like Khari Evans and Trevor Hairsine are both leaving the book with this issue, but I’m not worried because I’m sure Valiant has another great artist or team lined up. Both artists once again nail their part of the story. Hairsine actually has a ton of action in his 1969 storyline and Carter’s reveal was awesome looking. On Evans side of things, Faith once again steals the show. The emotions on her face and the facial expressions when she’s under Clem’s control were perfect and really stole the scene.
This was a great issue and I can’t wait to see what next month has in store. After I finished this issue I realized that I really have no clue what’s coming next. Sure there is the solicits for the series, but the rest of the Valiant titles have been teased or blatantly effected because of HW. Harbinger has kind of gone under the radar, but I’m thinking there is something big right around the corner. If this sounds like a series you want to read then you should definitely pick up the next issue and I would recommend picking up the trades to get caught up as they release. This is still my pick for the best Valiant series to date so you’re only doing yourself a favor by checking it out.
Writer: Joshua Dysart
Artist: Khari Evans and Trevor Hairsine
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: 7/24/13