Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Laid Back Comics: Harbinger #0

Issue zeros can be a tricky beast in comics, the idea of it being a prelude to a possible start of the series like a prologue. It is even trickier when you have a zero issue after your series has already started. Valiant is taking that risk with Harbinger.  Here the origin of Toyo Harada comes to light for the readers and it is a powerful visual and reading experience.

The issue has two sides to it, while on a mission Toyo starts to tell a story of his past, his childhood in Japan surviving the Atomic bomb being dropped. Each time the story goes back to that the art switches as well. This isn't a new technique and it is one that sometimes doesn't work, but here it works perfectly.  The art helps sets the mood of a child who just survived on of the biggest horrors in human history and in that short time lost his innocent as he gained his special powers. But, it was just the one thing that he always wanted as a child would, his family. It has times a dream like quality to it with how the color shades work on each of the characters. It at times is more of a nightmare than a dream. Mico Suayan had a task to take something that was terrible incident and give it something to send even more chills down your spine.

And when we come back into the present day the art remains chirps as it flows, it could easily be jarring to move from one arena to another but never does it fall into the trap. And Pere Perez is the one that has to do with it. If there was one problem it might be that he had more mundane of the duties when it came to the art. There were few action pieces for him to use.

The story Joshua Dysart has put forth with Toyo is one of sympathy and also slight fear. Toyo wants to fix a broken world. A world where he is a short time lost everything he held dear to him. But, he also not clear cut in terms of good. He doesn’t hold back to get what he wants and get the job done. And he plays it to perfection and as a reader you may feel conflicted while reading, but always intrigued. That real the strength of the writing in the book, he isn’t a pure good or bad character, Toyo is that shade of grey you want to 
learn more about.

This is a fanatic look at Harbinger and a perfect introduction to the book to anyone who may be on the fence of picking up the series. You read this; you will want more and will be ready when Harbinger Wars starts next month.

OVERALL: 9.5/10

Bryan "BAC" Clendening is a comic book reviewer and sometimes video producer. You can follow him on Twitter at his name @BAClend

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