Review: Harbinger #18

Harada, Harada, Harada… what are we going to do with ya? What’s so fascinating about this series is that writer Joshua Dysart is able to leave elements of the story hanging in limbo while visiting other areas of the story. Last issue we were introduced to Animalia who for some reason was kept separate from the rest of the rescued children. She had a great introduction and the events at the end of the issue where quite a cliffhanger. Now ordinarily if a comic didn’t go back to that cliffhanger would be disappointing, but not here. There are so many other plotlines to follow and catch up on that it’s just the perfect planning of Dysart in motion. Artist Riley Rossmo contributes to this issue and he’s a great addition. His art takes us into the “Perfect Day” scenario for Peter that Harada has created. It’s a world before Peter’s powers awakened; a simpler time when he still had his parents and friends. Much like the world his companions are in, the world is a bit too perfect. It’s still serves as a great “what if” though. What if Peter’s life hadn’t become so mangled and damaged?

The big problem of the issue is that Harda still hasn’t slept in forty days. A tremor hits the building as Harada finds himself nodding off for a second while he visits Peter. It’s a shake that forces Ingrid to once again talk to Harada about entering his sleeping chamber. She’s bolder this time around and calls him out on the fact that he’s running a sequence on Peter and that it’s keeping him from sleeping. In typical Harada fashion though he feels that it’s only fair to give Peter the same opportunity as the other Renegades. It’s again a classic example of the softer side of Harada, the side that contradicts all the other jacked up things that he does.

HAR_018_COVER_WALSHI love the heavy focus on Harada. I’m honestly hoping that he gets to his sleeping chamber eventually be I’m scared that he’s going to break the world or that his true form will be exposed and somehow ruin everything. Dysart continues to make him the most fascinating character in the series. You love him and hate him, feel compassion for him and respect while also despising him. He is quite possibly the most well-rounded character in the entire comic book medium. I mean I enjoy Peter’s character and I can’t wait to see what he becomes; either breaker or savior it’s going to be great, but I don’t know if he has what it takes to replace Harada. I honestly thought with Unity also launching this week that there would be too much Harada, but then I realized that such a thing isn’t possible. If he were in another monthly series I would probably only like him more.

Barry Kitson’s visuals are spot on in this issue. The diversity of settings and objects that Kitson covers is pretty stunning. He not only covers the wide range of events in Harada’s day-to-day, but he also jumps back into Torquehalla which is a crazy challenge in and of itself. Torquehalla reminds me of Brutal Legend but without the awkward gameplay and more fantasy elements. Kitson’s visuals keep these jumps together and give way to Rossmo’s scenes perfectly. The different styles are the perfect contradiction to each other as Rossmo’s segments firmly tells the reader that what they are seeing isn’t real. You’d probably never imagine Rossmos and Kitson’s styles working together in such harmony, but they do on this series.

I know that Unity hits this week and it’s a great first issue. I know that Archer & Armstrong continues this week and I’m sure it’s entertaining. Shadowman is about to launch its new creative team while X-O Manowar continues to be consistent with its plot and creative team. There is something great and entertaining about each and every Valiant series, but for my money I run to Harbinger first each and every time. This series is incredible and Dysart is producing the story of his career. If you’re not reading Harbinger then stop making excuses and check it out already.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Joshua Dysart Artists: Barry Kitson and Riley Rossmo Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/13/13