|You are not imaging things. He's talking to a dog.|
Harbinger # 2Written by Joshua Dysart
Art by Khari Evans & Lewis LaRosa
Review by Frankie Rodriguez
We all know the story of Valiant. The original Harbingers featured Peter Stanchek, later called Sting, going to a place in the Harbinger Foundation that was ran by Toyo Harada. It ended with the two of them fighting each other. But that was then. It's 2012, Harbinger # 1 features Toyo Harada starting out as a woman, later a fully grown man. Also, meet 17 year old Peter Stanchek. He and his best friend Joseph Jones have been on the run. Joseph's a paranoid schizo while Peter can't control his powers. They include telepathy, telekinetics and more. In the first issue, they double back to Pittsburg where he goes to find his first love ... who forgot him ...kind of. Peter, wanting to find love with said her, makes her love him. The 3 of them squat in a house together till they are found by military force, lead by Dr. Trull; who followed Joseph back to the house after interrogating him. And now ... Harbinger # 2.
# 1 was good, compelling set up. This issue ... wow. The payoff is very enjoyable to watch. There are multiple things happening character wise with Peter and Joseph during a major attack from a military group. And Peter is talking to a dog ... who is actually being used to channel Toyo Harada. Peter gets an offer to join Harada ...yet, he would have to give up his friends to do so. This is, again, during a military group is going after them ... even shooting at him and his friends. Ah ... the joys of youth.
Joshua Dysart really lets us get some interesting pay off right away. Building upon last issue with Joseph, the military force arrived to get Peter. And what do you know ... they (the military force) were from Project: Rising Sun. (that was mentioned in Bloodshot #1; so take note readers). The personal relationships between Peter, Joseph and even poor, love induced Kris were examined fairly well with terrific pay off. Dysart managed to build upon his first issue while also making this issue stand out with a right blend of action and character development. Readers who did not read the first issue would be able to follow along as we were reminded how important Kris and Joe were to Peter. Even the reality of the world and their situation was brought to light not only by Harada but by Peter's actions; which really helped grab me. The emotions and dialogue felt real; authentic given the situation.
The pacing was excellent. The dialogue realistic. The characters were very believable and just great to watch. And Dysart gives more bits and pieces to a bigger puzzle on top of other plots, to really make me want to learn more.
Khari Evans is a find. The artist has produced panels full of life and emotion. The style looked and felt unique, with very sharp, distinct faces and backgrounds. Yet, the flow of the art, alongside LaRosa's work, made the book feel almost cinematic in a way. There was this feeling that the artists were trying to blend the epicness of the widescreen comic format and merge it with the old school storytelling in terms of looks, panel work and expression.
Evans and LaRosa's fusion of realistic art, current detail savvy comic book art & bits of manga really brought out a unique depth to the book that made it so much fun to look at. Ian Hannin and Moose Baumann work on colors really helped the book give it the grandiose, near cinematic feel that the book need. Even the shading and colors of the scene made it better.
I cannot find anything wrong with this book. And I tried. For nearly an hour. But everything about the book really works for it. While, not the ideal book to start with, certainly catch up quickly enough and the payoff displayed here made me want more. This issue was better than #1. If I was reviewing #1, that would have gotten a 4. But I am reviewing issue #2.
So, let me say this; for the first time in Broken Infinite/Comic Book Clash history, I am about to give Harbinger #2 ... a 5 out of 5. The third 5 out of 5 in books I have reviewed from the same company in a row. That's historic.
So with that, Valiant has returned strong. But beware Valiant ... I'm keeping my eye on you. Enjoy the book everyone.