Advanced Review: Harbinger Renegade #1

hr_001_cover-a_robertsonAnyone you know could become a psionically powered “harbinger” with the potential to reshape the course of human history. Your neighbor. Your boss. Your best friend. Your kids.

Six months ago, a secret team of renegade whistleblowers leaked the existence of these extraordinarily dangerous individuals to a stunned world. Today, all across the country, crude, DIY psiot activation attempts have left hundreds brain damaged…or worse. The emergence of a new psiot in a community often leads to riots and mass violence. Gun sales are through the roof.

America is terrified of what could happen next.

With this revolutionary upheaval now in motion, Kris Hathaway, John “Torque” Torkelson, Faith “Zephyr” Herbert, and Peter Stanchek are about to discover their calling. Together, the HARBINGER RENEGADES are moving from town to town, building their ranks, and subverting authority one mind at a time…and setting out to prove once and for all that behind their power, there has always been a purpose.

Alright, so let’s get something out the way right away. I have only read one issue of Harbinger, so I have only the slightest familiarity with the characters involved in the comic – aside from Faith, that is. One of the questions I’ll be asking with this review, is whether new readers can enjoy Valiant‘s newest series, or if you need to read the thirty plus issues of Harbinger and Imperium before picking this comic up, which is a feat I intend to undertake after reading this issue. Which brings up another question: if you read this before the other related series, are you spoiling those for yourself?

Obviously, if you do read Harbinger Renegade #1 before either Harbinger or Imperium then there will be some spoilers; but if you’ve been reading Faith then you’ll already have a pretty good idea about what’s happened (or rather what will be revealed to you) in the other series, but aside from a very general overview, this issue alone doesn’t delve too much into the past other than a two page what has gone before type recap.

So, in answer to my earlier question, despite the rich history of these characters, this comic is absolutely accessible to new readers. Especially those who have found their way here from Faith, which I’m sure Valiant are hoping will happen.

But is the comic actually worth reading?

The short answer is absolutely. The way that Rafer Roberts has written the introductory pages is fantastic; everything a person unfamiliar with the Harbinger story so far will need to understand what follows will be a story about people taking responsibility for their actions. Roberts sets the story very well, showing a different side to his writing than he does with A&A: The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong‘s far more comedic slant, with Harbinger Renegade already feeling much different in tone than that series. Make no mistake, this is going to be a darker series than A&A, and as far as my understanding of the Harbinger story goes, that’s going to be a very good thing for fans.

Another good thing for fans is the artwork in the issue.

There’s three different teams contributing to the first issue, and they read like a who’s who of Valiant’s artistic talent. Raul Allen and Patricia Martin handle the art and lettering on the introduction pages, Juan Jose Ryp and Frankie D’Armata provide the art and colour art respectively for the prologue, with the main story featuring Darick Robertson on pencils, Richard Clark on inks and colourist Diego RodriguezDave Lanphear is the letter for the prologue and the main story, tying those two teams together.

The three art teams do a fantastic job overall, but it’s in the final pages that we find a brilliant sequence where the there’s no need for too much expository dialogue, and Rafer Roberts allows his artists to depict a superb sequence.

Harbinger Renegade #1 does two things; it gets you thoroughly invested in the series (which is exactly what you want), but it also tells a complete story. If this was a one-shot, I’d be happy with the comic, but as the first issue on the journey to Harbinger Wars 2, I’m as happy as a pig in shit with this comic.

Story: Rafer Roberts
Artists: Raul Allen & Patricia Martin, Juan Jose Ryp, Darick Robertson (P) and Richard Clark (I)
Colourists Frankie D’Armata, Diego Rodriguez
Story: 8.75 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

 

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review