Tuesday, August 13, 2013

1st Impressions: HARBINGER # 15 Review

Written by Joshua Dysart
Art by Barry Kitson, Stefano Gaudiano, Mark Pennington & Ian Hannin with Sotocolor
Valiant Comics


                The Renegades take some time to relax after recent events as they hit the beach in Los Angeles.  The group enjoy themselves through multiple activities, including Torque and Peter crashing a bodybuilding contest. Kris is nervous around the sea. Later, the group decides to split up to different activities. Torque goes to his first concert. Peter goes with Faith flying around Hollywood Hills. And Kris and Flamingo go out to a party in the middle of the desert they got a flyer for by a guy they found cute. Torque’s response to the guy was that he’s gay, which annoys Kris.
                Yet, you must wonder how do the Renegades accomplish this. Simple. They stop at a car dealership and, using Peter’s telepathy, coax the sales man to give them two cars. So, Torque travels on a large hummer to a metal concert while Kris and Flamingo hit the desert. The two seem to be having a great time … so great that Kris and Flamingo kiss. Flamingo says she was caught up then goes on stage to dance. In the meantime, Kris gets a weird vision.  The two girls go back, finding Torque there. Kris ends up talking to Torque alone …

                Kitson’s art was different here again from his Bloodshot work and his other work. It was a bit more sketchy in look but with smoother inks than he had during his stint on Bloodshot. And while it may seem unfinished in some panels, it seems to work. Kitson is about to convey emotion, give great porportions. Gaudiano’s and Pennington’s ink really help bring Kitson’s style together throughout the whole book.  There inks are fairly solid and smooth, yet liven up Kitson’s sketch-like style this issue. It works.
                Hannin and Sotocolor do a good job this issue with the colors. The colors are vibrant at the beach but more subdued during the night time panels. They energize the panels while also catching the mood for what Dysart and Kitson are conveying through their work.
                While I wasn’t blown away, still a solid issue.

                Dysart is coming off a major event and how is this for a follow up. Pretty DAMN AWESOME. Dysart’s writing continues to become pinnacle work in comics. Years from now, Dysart’s run on this book will be compared to that of Claremont’s X-Men or John’s Green Lantern or Flash.  Dysart writes very relatable characters and this issue is the best proof of it.
                Dysart brings readers along for a break after all the insanity of the Harbinger Wars. Dysart captures how some real life teens deal with their powers. Dysart does this with Peter abusing his powers to get cars for Torque, Kris and Flamingo. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised at the focus on development with the characters … particularly Kris and Torque. Torque’s usage of gay definitely stems from his upbringing and him dealing with his condition till he was activated.  Kris, on the other hand, seemed to be much more multi-facetted after this issue; especially now that there seems to be hints of bisexuality or lesbian tendencies in both her and Flamingo. It would also explain to her reaction of the word ‘gay.’ Kudos to Dysart for actual dealing with the use of the word ‘gay’, how it is used and, although covertly, expressing feelings on said usage of ‘gay’ in modern day culture. 
                And I can honestly express me saying “HOLY S#!T!” at the ending of the comic. That ALONE is worth the price tag.  Dysart gives us some wonderful sets up with interpersonal relationships …. Along with possibly shipping of Faith & Peter. But that ENDING …. GEEZZ!!!

                For all that is right with the book, I have one gripe … while sometimes … the Renegades are wearing their uniforms to go out to having fun. They didn’t on the beach. And I can understand why Peter & Faith do when they fly (possible insulation & all that) but why did Torque , Flamingo and Kris not wear different clothes when they went out? Is that just a bit too obvious? They know that Harada will still be after them, right?

      Dysart, though, does an incredible job this issue. 

                “Perfect Day” part one definitely was a great start for a new arc and good jump on point. The art was good and I applaud Kiston changing things up with his art. It works and fits this crew. As for the writing, Dysart continues to deliver some of the best written comics today and this issue is one of his best to date. My only problem being the costume thing is a minor gripe in the larger scheme of things. Excellent pacing. Great character development. Interesting plot. Gripping characters. Vibrant art. And one hell of an ending makes Harbinger # 15 a GREAT comic.

                Besides the one issue I had with it, this book is AMAZING. Harbinger # 15 gets an 8.5 out of 10. BUY IT!!!!

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