Peter Stanchek has stepped up for Psiot City and protected those in need as the Harbinger, but now it’s time to face down an enemy of his own making…The Renegade. After his clash against the state sanctioned oppressors known as The Warning, Peter must come to terms with his own past and take on a dangerous fight that will push him to finally understand what it means to become a superhero in The Harbinger #4, the epic final chapter of the “be better” story.
The title of the first arc of The Harbinger is Be Better. One could make a cynical joke correlating the title to the quality of the book if one were so inclined, but for my money that wouldn’t be an accurate or fair statement. The Harbinger #4 caps off the first arc with a confrontation between the Harbinger and the Renegade – both men claiming to be Peter Stanchek. Writers Colin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing use this confrontation to really delve into the man that Stanchek was before the events of this series, and aren’t afraid to look at the character with a frank honesty. The result this introspection leaves isn’t entirely comfortable as we remember (or find out if you’re just starting the story with The Harbinger) what Stanchek has done in the past. Kelly and Lanzing reveal a lot through the Harbinger’s internal narration, and the struggle between that character and the Renegade.
This issue is a bit more cerebral in its content than the previous issues, but that doesn’t mean that Robbie Rodriguez and Rico Renzi (artist and colourist respectively) are bereft of exciting imagery to delight your eyes, because the nature of Peter Stanchek’s powers enable you to create a brightly diverse mindscape as a backdrop to the action as the story comes to its conclusion. Because of the nature of the dual narrators, letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou uses some interesting speech bubble styles in the comic, differentiating between the disembodied voices with muted colours that feel like they’re about to be so much brighter.
The Harbinger #4 answers more questions than it asks, and while there are still lingering threads that Kelly and Lanzing are able to pull at for the rest of the series, the Be Better arc comes to a strong character driven conclusion that positions the book to be one of the rare “traditional” superhero comics from Valiant.
Story: Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing Art: Robbie Rodriguez
Colours: Rico Renzi Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 8.9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy
Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review