Oh shit… that’s what everyone will be saying after they finish this issue and I mean that about more than one event that takes place between start and finish. After the events from Harbinger Wars you almost expect that story will take a break and just relax; hell the story line is even called “Perfect Day.” Well this story does not take a break… maybe a little, but not really. In fact I would even say that it’s more important than anything that happened to our group of Renegades during Harbinger Wars. The story begins with our team relaxing by the ocean in Venice beach which is several hours away from Las Vegas. They all seem to have healed physically from their battle and have decided to move on from the previous events. In fact there seems to be reluctance in speaking about Las Vegas. For all of them they are experiencing a lot of firsts in their life. First time at the beach, first time in the ocean, first time seeing surfers; they’re like children in many ways, but they’re happy to be out in public and with each other.
We basically just follow them as they continue to have fun and be in each other’s company. I won’t say who, but two characters continue to come to the forefront of this issue so pay close attention. As they head into the evening though the group splits up; Peter and Faith go flying and soak in the city from high above, while Charlene and Kris head to a DJ “hippie” party and Torque finds some heavy metal to enjoy.
Dysart fucks with the reader a lot in this issue and it’s great. It’s like being told you’re going to get ice cream and finding yourself at the dentist. Your trust is broken, but instead of leaving with bloody gums and the taste of mint you just have a game changing story. Dysart shakes things up in this issue and it comes across very differently than previous issues. The series has always been dark, but it’s returning to the darkness that was present in the beginning story arc and that’s great. Why shouldn’t it return there after all; the story deals with the mind and mental illness so there should always be ups and downs to match that.
I’m not going to lie; Kitson isn’t my favorite artist to work on this series. I’m not denying his talent or his abilities as a storyteller; he’s just not my preferred artist on the series. Even still I can appreciate how much skill he puts into making the setting a character. How he’s able to capture the joy on the faces of the characters, but the pain still hidden below the surface of them all. I especially enjoyed the scene between Peter and Faith and the confusion it’s sure to stir in future issues.
There is sadly so much I still want to say about the story and the art, especially the art, but I can’t. I can’t because it would ruin a huge chunk of the story for you and that would be horrible of me. If you enjoyed the last story arc and thought, “how can it get any better?” Well… just wait until you read this issue. Also I’m totally going to bust Dysart for his flub on local landmarks since he has the gang start in Venice and end up in Santa Monica with seemingly no travel time in-between and with the character mentioning that they can’t fly during the day, just saying!
UPDATE: Ah man Dysart schooled me and showed why Valley people shouldn't talk about the beach! He's right and I'm totally wrong... unless you're talking about their exits off of the 405 in which case it's a graveyard and doesn't matter. All hail Dysart's superior knowledge of LA beach geography... and probably just L.A. in general.
Writer: Joshua Dysart
Artist: Barry Kitson
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: 8/14/13