The problem with issues you enjoy too much is that occasionally they feel like they’ve taken forever to release when really they haven’t. I feel like I’ve been waiting two months for this issue even though I know that’s not possible. I just wanted to read it so damn much and oh man is it good! Let’s start by stating the obvious which is that there may be a spoiler or two here, but nothing about the death of the Renegade… because no one dies here. Let’s continue with that then huh? Joshua Dysart fucks with the reader so many times throughout the course of this issue that you really don’t know how the pendulum is going to swing. Now he does swing the blade towards Faith and Torque a lot, but part of me thinks that it’s a distraction from the real person that will die. That is the beauty of Dysart’s writing, you just don’t know until you read it. Still my money is on one of them dying.
The issue itself starts off with a look at the tragedy that helped shape Faith… her parent’s car accident that resulted in their death. It’s a short and powerful scene, but it goes right into the main story as well. The story then picks up with Faith and Torque lying in bed together… with no sheets on the bed! Oh man who has to be kind of rough on the ass, just saying. The two share a fantastic moment that lays the ground work for some of the best character development with Torque since his first appearance.
After that we check in with the entire crew as they walk us through their “plan” of attack. In the last issue we learned that Harada’s people found the Renegades thanks to Monica Jim. So how will the plan go down now that Harada’s on to them? And what really is the plan as it seems like only a few of them actually know what’s going on. And is @X trustworthy yet?
There’s a ton of character development in this issue. Dysart is a master at sneaking the development in while producing a big story at the same time. Faith and Torque grow exponentially, but there’s sparks for the rest of the team. There could be some interesting developments between Peter and Flamingo which could complicate the team; and also we see Monica Jim communicate making her more than just a bit character. Monica Jim and @X remain the “X-factors” of the story as they’re alliances and motives are still hidden from the reader.
Clayton Henry delivers another spectacular issue. The opening with Faith as a kid actually looked different from the rest of the story due to the intense details and coloring from Brian Reber. Granted the scene has a very different setting that the rest of the issue, but it stood out a lot more than the rest of the issue.
Where Henry excels is capturing the human moments between the team. Faith and Torque’s intimacy is sprinkled throughout the issue and more so in the visuals rather than the dialogue. He also brings back Harada’s dog form which was very cool to see again since he hasn’t had a use for it since the first story arc. Tip of the hat to writer and artist for that one.
This series instantly shot back up to my top five. It’s going to be very hard for other series to top this because of how well constructed the story is and how fantastic the art is executed. In comics a company has a title that they measure the success of all their other comics to; for DC its Batman, for Marvel it’s either X-Men or the Avengers. Sure it’s a bar set by sales, but for me that bar is Harbinger at Valiant. This is their best series and I will continue to say that for as long as it remains true. If you haven’t read it, there’s no better time than now to begin.
Writer: Joshua Dysart Artist: Clayton Henry Colorist: Brian Reber Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 4/23/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital