This is a pretty important issue, slate that it’s nuts. Joshua Dysart has this incredible talent of creating and developing a world, a plot line, a character and then just tearing them apart. I don’t think any of these characters are safe from him and he’s already shown that the world isn’t. The best example I can give you of this is X-Men. I’m not talking about new X-Men; I’m talking about “pre-No More Mutants” when there was a rhythm to the X-Titles. The charm of their group was that even when they won, they lost. They’d lose a friend, their home or be pushed to a breaking point that would make themselves question whether they were any better than the villain they faced… and the worst part was that the world hated them no matter what. That’s what Harbinger is like. No matter how man “W’s” they put up, there is still red on their ledger. The simple fact is Harbinger is the new X-Men. At the very end of the last issue we saw Harada going into a mind squall and it rattled the entire skyscraper. Bridget and Stronghold have found him, but Bridget knows that at best she can only save herself and possibly Stronghold from Harada. Inside the mental VR construct Peter begins to crack the world and take over as Harada loses control. Bridget sedates Harada which will only hold for a little bit, she and Stronghold begin moving him to the other VR tanks to have the Kalfus brothers rededicated to him. As they leave the room with Harada you can see the destruction that his mind caused and it’s… its bad. I mean it’s one of those moments that will haunt Harada and make him an even better character because of the fine line of hero and villain that he already walks. We also check in with Animalia again as her imaginary friends help free her to an extent. Peter makes contact with her mind and it looks like the Renegades will have another friend… hopefully.
I’m not going to say any more about the story; just that I’ve barely cover seven pages of this tale and even then I’ve left out a ton of information. This is a thick read meaning every single page is important. There are a ton of great moments between characters and just about everyone on the Renegades is given an “ah yeah” moment. Dysart is genius with this issue. The destruction Harada causes is chaotic and even in that chaos there is important and touching character scenes. Very few comics are ever this good, yet alone consistently good.
The art plays the most important role in this story. No kidding. Without the powerful visuals putting everything on the page this story wouldn’t have the same impact. It also travels everywhere the series has been in the last four issues meaning, “Torquehalla”, Animalia and Peter’s VR worlds and the Harbinger foundation headquarters they’re being kept at. Aside from the insane amount of background settings that Torquehalla has, there are also Animalia’s imaginary friends that are cartoons. Let’s not forget to add in the gore and destruction from Harada’s mind squall and as you’re beginning to see this is a very busy issue. What’s even cooler is that we get a great look at Harada in his true form. It’s strange to say the least, but it makes you wonder just how powerful his mind is and what he could do if he wasn’t constantly projecting that image.
The consequences of this issue are not over. Who knows what else Harada’s brain was working on when his squall hit or how long he’ll be kept under. Usually he sleeps for twenty-four hours, but now he has Bridget running a VR on his brain. That leaves the question of whether it’s really sleeping or not? Its nuts, but I can’t wait until the next issue. This is hands down one of the best monthly comics in the history of comics. I haven’t read X-Men in a few years and yet when I pick this series up… it fills that void and then some.
Writer: Joshua Dysart Artists: Barry Kitson, Brain Level and Riley Rossmo Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/11/13