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Preview: The Harbinger #3

THE HARBINGER #3

Written by COLLIN KELLY, JACKSON LANZING
Art by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
Colors by RICO RENZI
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
Cover B by ADAM POLLINA
Pre-order Connecting Cover by DAMION SCOTT
On sale DECEMBER 22nd | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

A daring rescue mission unravels the mystery of Peter Stanchek’s past… and paves the way for the powerful psiot’s future.

THE HARBINGER #3

Review: The Harbinger #3

The Harbinger #3

In The Harbinger #3, a daring rescue mission unravels the mystery of Peter Stanchek’s past… and paves the way for the powerful psiot’s future.

As he comes to terms with losing all of his memories, Peter Stanchek chooses to fight back, not just for himself but all of Psiot City who has been oppressed by a legal force known as The Warning. Wearing a brand-new mask and wielding a revelatory new understanding of his own powerful potentials, Peter takes on the mantle of The Harbinger to pave the way for the future of all psiots. But will he start something so dangerous even he can’t stop? 

We finally get to see Peter Stanchek suiting up as the Harbinger in this issue. While we’ve seen the costume on covers to the series already, I appreciate that the character didn’t immediately don the new mask in the first issue as we’ve been able to witness the mind-wiped Stanchek come to an understanding of why he should be wearing a mask; because people don’t trust Peter Stanchek. That admission helps to bring the redemption arc to it’s first check point as writers Colin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing use The Harbinger #3 as a way to introduce the Harbinger both to the audience and in some ways to the character himself.

The narration bubbles help propel the characterization forward, Stanchek talking his way through the events to somebody (thus far into the series, my guess has been a therapist) as the action plays out on the page. Robbie Rodriguez and Rico Renzi (artist and colourist respectively) have created a visual style for this comic that I find is best described as an organized chaos. There is a lot to process with this book, and there are pages where this can be overstimulating – a deliberate choice, because when I found my eyes losing what I was looking at it was when Stanchek’s powers were being used in ways I’d never thought of. There’s a scene earlier in the comic where Peter takes in a lot of information, and the artistic team are able to really emphasize just how much information he is sifting through because he’d rather not revert to old ways.

I’ve said before, but usually comics that can be a bit too chaotic aren’t usually my cup of tea, but The Harbinger has been the exception to that as for me, the art style makes total sense given the nature of the title character’s powers. Or maybe I’m just more open to different art styles now than I used to be; certainly a possibility, but ultimately the end result is that I’m really digging the visuals in this book.

Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou uses some interesting speech bubble styles in the comic, which serves as a moment of calm amidst the chaos as the bubbles pull you eyes to the text itself, giving you a chance to actually read the words. It’s not often you notice the lettering in a positive way given that the art form is often designed to not be noticed, but Otsmane-Elhaou is a master of his craft, and balances the book perfectly.

Valiant have hit three for three with The Harbinger #3, and whether Peter Stanchek’s new direction is here to stay or not is to be determined, but I’m loving the ride.

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


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

A King's Vengeance #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

A King’s Vengeance #1 (Scout Comics) – A warrior is brought back to life to avenge himself on the demons responsible for his death. That cover just looks so damn cool.

Avengers Forever #1 (Marvel) – Marvel is going all in with its multiverse as Avengers from across it are gathered to take on a massive threat.

Batman: One Dark Knight #1 (DC Comics) – Batman must escort a prisoner from Arkham to Blackgate as gangs descend on him during a blackout. The concept has been done before but this is a pretty solid and entertaining execution.

Black Panther #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was fantastic delivering espionage and intrigue, some politics, and action all grounding the series and character a bit.

Chicken Devil #3 (AfterShock) – The series feels like a throwback to 80s action flicks and we’re enjoying the over-the-top violence and humor.

Deserter: Junji Ito Story Collection (VIZ Media) – Junji Ito. Nuff said.

Fist of the North Star Vol. 3 (VIZ Media) – Collecting the classic series in beautiful hardback. If you’ve never read it, here’s your chance!

The Harbinger #3 (Valiant) – Peter Stanchek is back in the Valiant Universe and this series is paving way for the future of psiots.

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #2 (Marvel) – With Kate in the spotlight as part of the MCU, the series shines a light on her in the comics as she heads back east to deal with a case… and family.

Impossible Jones #2 (Scout Comics) – The first issue was so much fun delivering a new entertaining superhero world that was a mix of homage, sendup, and its own thing. We’re excited to finally be able to read the second issue.

King Conan #1 (Marvel) – Conan grows weary in his old age and heads off on one last adventure.

Menopause: A Comic Treatment (Graphic Mundi) – Short stories about menopause in this graphic medicine anthology.

Nightwing #87 (DC Comics) – The series goes experimental with art that’s just one giant continuous image.

No Holds Bard #1 (Behemoth Comics) – When Queen Elizabeth I is kidnapped, only the dramatic duo of William Shakespeare and William Page in their superhero alter-egos, THE BARD and PAGE can save her! All written in iambic pentameter!?

Search for Hu #4 (AfterShock) – The series has been just solid mob action as two warring families/factions go after each other and a son attempts to figure out who attempted to kill his parents.

Serial #9 (Abstract Studio) – This series has been an amazing build with every issue and the last one left us shocked. Horror, serial killers, so much tension!

Preview: The Harbinger #3

THE HARBINGER #3

Written by COLLIN KELLY, JACKSON LANZING
Art by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
Colors by RICO RENZI
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
Cover B by ADAM POLLINA
Pre-order Connecting Cover by DAMION SCOTT
On sale DECEMBER 22nd | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

A daring rescue mission unravels the mystery of Peter Stanchek’s past… and paves the way for the powerful psiot’s future.

THE HARBINGER #3

Preview: The Harbinger #2

THE HARBINGER #2

Written by COLLIN KELLY, JACKSON LANZING
Art by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
Colors by RICO RENZI
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
Cover B by NIK VIRELLA
Pre-order Connecting Cover by DAMION SCOTT
On sale NOVEMBER 24th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The Warning unleashed. When a young rebel is captured, will Peter join the fight to rescue him?

A new era of Harbinger races forward with Robbi Rodriguez’s eye-popping visuals.

THE HARBINGER #2

Review: The Harbinger #2

The Harbinger #2

Peter Stanchek is one of the most powerful psiots on the planet and one of the most feared as well, but now he’s lost his memories. As he confronts the only message left behind when he first awoke, demanding him to “BE BETTER”, Peter begins to understand the people of Psiot City need more than who he was. They need a superhero. With a new group of state sanctioned oppressors called The Warning bearing down on them, an all-new psiot raises his voice and spurs on a confrontation that only Peter Stanchek can hope to face.

I’m a sucker for a good redemption story. I’ve never made a secret of that, and so given the direction that writers Colin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing have taken with this story, it seems like it’s going to be a no-brainer for me to enjoy it. There’s not “but” coming, because I’ve really enjoyed the two issues I’ve read so far. Being able to say that comes as something of a relief given the pedigree of the Harbinger name and the weighty expectations I had as a result.

Robbie Rodriguez artwork is once again fantastic. The artist has a quality to his work that pulls you in and then throws you around. The comic looks like it is barely controlled chaos at times, reflecting what’s occurring in the story as Stanchek struggles to hold himself together. Colourist Rico Renzi enhances everything about the chaos, whilst also being able to soften the art as the story’s pacing slows down. The Harbinger #2 is a visually stimulating journey from beginning to end, and while there may be the odd page where you’re trying to make out what’s going on that really only adds to the book’s story. It’s strange to say that, because usually that’d be something I’m not a fan of, but here we are.

Stanchek’s superhero origin story continues, edging toward the inevitability of a new costume and mask emphasized by the reaction people within the story are having to his name alone (though how he’ll hide his identity with his powerset remains to be seen, so I’m curious just how much I’ll need to suspend my disbelief). So far, however, the story has been solid, and the new memory-free Stanchek means there’s a blank slate for the writers to create a new version of the Psiot without necessarily needing to keep to previous characterization.

The Harbinger as a series has delivered two really good issues so far, which is giving me a lot of excitement for to see how the creative team (rounded out by letterist extraordinaire Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou) continue Peter Stanchek’s journey. As I said, I’m a sucker for a redemption story, and so far this is delivering in every way.

Story: Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing Art: Robbie Rodriguez
Colours: Rico Renzi Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 9 Art: 8.8 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: The Harbinger #2

THE HARBINGER #2

Written by COLLIN KELLY, JACKSON LANZING
Art by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
Colors by RICO RENZI
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
Cover B by NIK VIRELLA
Pre-order Connecting Cover by DAMION SCOTT
On sale NOVEMBER 24th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The Warning unleashed. When a young rebel is captured, will Peter join the fight to rescue him?

A new era of Harbinger races forward with Robbi Rodriguez’s eye-popping visuals.

THE HARBINGER #2

Preview: The Harbinger #1

THE HARBINGER #1

Written by COLLIN KELLY, JACKSON LANZING
Art by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
Colors by RICO RENZI
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
Cover B by ROD REIS
Cover C by CRIS DELARA
Pre-order Cover by DAMION SCOTT
Blank Cover also available
1:250 Metal Variant to be revealed soon
On sale OCTOBER 27th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+ | Pre-order deadline is October 4th 

Can you make the world better if you can’t be better?

A telepath with no memory. A city of superpowered teenagers suppressed.

Redemption. Destruction. Rebirth. A new era of HARBINGER begins here.

THE HARBINGER #1

Review: The Harbinger #1

The Harbinger #1

Can you make the world better if you can’t be better? A telepath with no memory. A city of superpowered teenagers suppressed. Redemption. Destruction. Rebirth. A new era of HARBINGER begins here.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Harbinger is one of Valiant’s flagship titles dating back to the original iteration of Valiant from the 90’s. Joshua Dysart’s 2012 reboot Barbinger and the follow ups Imperium and Life And Death of Toyo Harada are widely heralded as one of the best runs that has come from the modern era of Valiant comics, so it’s no understatement to say that there are some fairly high expectations for this comic purely because of what’s come before.

The Harbinger #1 acts as both a continuation of Peter Stanchek’s story after the events of Harbinger Wars 2, and also as an entirely new entry point to the world of psiots and the Harbinger corporation. Writers Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing bridge the gap between the old and new by introducing Peter as an amnesiac who knows his name but little else; while this serves as a way to introduce new readers to a character with a mysteriously dark past to atone for, readers will (presumably) be as in the dark as to exactly what that involves as Peter himself until they’re comfortably in the series. Older readers will also benefit from the approach because they’ve either forgotten details of Peter’s life (guilty) or are waiting for the realization to dawn on him just how much of a mess he’d made of things.

Kelly and Lanzing frame the story as the beginning of a redemption arc, and perhaps even a superhero origin story, and for me it works. The writers don’t ignore anything that has happened before, nor do they spend a page an a half specifically repeating why people are afraid of Peter; it’s very much a case showing and not telling in a fairly frantically paced comic book.

Robbie Rodriguez artwork is revelatory; there’s a sketchiness to the style that’s used and, coupled with Rico Renzi‘s colouring work, it fits the narrative perfectly. The panels, colours and feel of the comic lends a sense of speed to a book that touches on atoning for past sins (even if you don’t remember them). At its heart, The Harbinger #1 is about whether a person can change without first acknowledging past wrongs; I’ve always been a sucker for redemption arcs, and this is no different.

Time will tell if The Harbinger will live up to expectations, but the creative team (rounded out by letterist extraordinaire Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou) are off to a cracking start.

Writers: Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing Art: Robbie Rodriguez
Colours: Rico Renzi Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 9 Art: 8.8 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Amazing Spider-Man #77

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Amazing Spider-Man #77 (Marvel) – “Beyond” has been a solid new direction for the Spider-Man titles and Kelly Thompson steps in as writer and Sara Pichelli as artist of this issue. We’re excited to see what they do with the new focus.

Ant #1 (Image Comics) – After a week delay, we get to see Erik Larsen’s take on the classic character. Can’t wait to see what Larsen does with a brand-new ongoing series.

Comrade Kill (Adhouse Books) – “A Cold War super soldier accidentally wakes from a cryogenic freeze long after the war has ended to find out his existence is now meaningless. Being too dumb to reconcile this he goes out into the wild to satisfy a pointless mission objective that no one asked him to do.” That sounds too awesome to not check out.

Cross to Bear #1 (AfterShock) – Jack the Ripper ran to the Wild West and is being pursued by The Order, descendants of Crusaders sworn to eradicate the unnatural.

DC vs. Vampires #1 (DC Comics) – It’s the Justice League vs. Vampires!

The Harbinger #1 (Valiant) – Harbinger is back and we’re so excited for this new volume and direction. This is a series that is likely to be the center of the Valiant world going forward and we want to see where it all goes.

Hellboy: The Silver Lantern Club #1 (Dark Horse) – We’re always excited for a new Hellboy series which tend to do a solid job of balancing the big meta picture and being accessible for new readers.

House of Slaughter #1 (BOOM! Studios) – Something is Killing the Children is a hit and we want to see how this new spin-off series is handled.

Inferno #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was a lot of setup as the end game of Jonathan Hickman’s vision for the X-Men begins. Here’s hoping things really get rolling here.

Primordial #2 (Image Comics) – A brand-new series from Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino that puts a twist on the space race with an alternative take on history.

Search for Hu #2 (AfterShock) – The first issue was great with dips into generally not known history when it comes to Jewish migration mixed with action and family drama.

Swamp Dogs #1 (Scout Comics/Black Caravan) – Confederate soldiers are brought back to life by Voodoo and crave flesh!

Task Force Z #1 (DC Comics) – Task Force X saw villains working their way to freedom. Task Force Z will see dead villains working for a new chance at life! Well ok then.

Tiny Dancer (Atheneum Books for Young Readers) – Sien Cherson Siegel’s second graphic novel about her life in ballet.

The Winchester Mystery House #1 (Source Point Press) – The house is pretty famous and we’re intrigued into how you turn it into a comic series.

Almost American
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