Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Harbinger # 12 Review

Written by Joshua Dysart
Art by Khari Evans, Trevor Hairsine, Clayton Crain, Stefano Guadiano & Ian Hannin
Valiant Comics


            As Peter and the rest of the Renegades (and yes, Faith and the gang agree on that name this issue) enter Las Vegas … they find Cronos and his psiot have taken over the casino that we saw taken over from Harbinger Wars # 2. We get introductions … including Peter being called Sting for the first time in ages … as each of the Renegades see different psiots and how this group works compared to the rest of them.

            After an eerie mention of how Cronos came to be, there is a long chat that looks at the ideology of Cronos since his experimentation, life with than escape from Project: Rising Spirit.

            Meanwhile, we have flashbacks to Toyo Harada during 1969 as we see how Project: Rising Spirit and Harada Foundation became enemies.


            This book delivers some intense visuals. From the arrival of the Renegades to the casino to Cronos’s origins to the flashback at the end of the book … there were a lot of things that were gripping about the issue. And while most of the issue, there was not big fight, there definitely seems to be a clashing of two groups. The Renegades learn what Project; Rising Spirit did to them. And one of the best things the book did right was split up the sections of the book to different artists. Evans handled the present day as we get some really good panel compositions of angles where the scenes take place.  There is emotion in these pages that easily fill. The inks are nice … not too heavy, not too light. And Evans one panel with Cronus stained with a bloody hand print was chilling but is balanced out between an emotional scene between Peter and Torque.

            Hairsine does the origins of Harada’s ongoing war with Project: Rising Spirit, going back to 1969. Readers will find HOW Harada was bringing about Psiots back that and how the two companies really forged their rivalry. The final pages are chilling as Harada takes care of betrayers with darker tones alongside the nice inks and panel work.

            Clayton Crain has an unmentioned credit as he vividly and nightmarishly displays Cronos’ origin for all to see. The horrors that the young man had faced only  to be dragged by to Project: Rising Spirit showed a mix of horror and darkness of the character with strong expressions and body language that Crain makes apparent for all to see.

            Hannin handles coloring everything like a champion. All the color work helps link the 3 distinctly different styles together. Emotional scenes are handled with lighter colors while the darker, more gruesome aspects like Cronus’s blood stained outfit while talking to Peter or Harada … cleaning house … were given into the shadows and darker colors.

            All in all, the art really gave itself an explosive showing.


            Dysart continues to bring us The Renegades in a light that shows us that they still have a chance to be something different … stronger. And after the interactions with many members of Cronos’s group … we will find characters deeply changed.  Torque declaration of not knowing what’s real anymore really helped shed light that he is not just some crazy kid who thinks everything is not real. He knows his brother’s dead. He knows what is really going on but is coping through life with his fantasy. Kris is starting to really feel out of her depth here. Flamingo and Faith are seemingly looking at the others … figuring out where they belong. And Peter … he is obviously trying to live up to what he promised the Bleeding Monk.

            The bits from 1969 getting into the origins of the Harada/Project: Rising Spirit conflict might seem like filler but actually enhance the book. Dysart makes sure you don’t have to read Harbinger Wars while making this book still solid and entertaining. We learn more about young Harada and his dealings with Project: Rising Spirit. Which only get more gruesome as things move along.

            And Cronos’s origin really pulled at the heart strings while showing hard far down the young man has fallen. He is willing to kill to give the others a chance at happiness. It is really insane yet understandable. Dysart made a homicidal maniac entertaining, likable and even makes you feel some kind of empathy towards him. That is an amazing accomplishment. And the pacing for everything was excellent. I give props to Dysart for such a great job.


            Harbinger  #12 gives you more keys to what is happening during Harbinger Wars and why while really showing what the Renegades are finding about themselves. This is not going to be an easy trip for them. The art is amazing. The writing is Top-notch. A really strong showing. I look forward to more.


            I give Harbinger # 12  an 8.5 out of 10. Really great book. Buy it now!

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