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Review: Harbinger Wars 2 #4

HW2_004_COVER-A_JONESWe called it the biggest, most impactful, most ambitious Valiant event ever attempted – and we meant it! From across the Valiant Universe, the paths of all of the world’s most formidable heroes – X-O Manowar, the Harbinger Renegades, Bloodshot, Ninjak, the Secret Weapons, H.A.R.D. Corps, and dozens of newly activated psiots – have finally converged, drawn together by their old ally Livewire’s last-ditch effort to protect the powerless.

Well here it is. The culmination of Valiant’s biggest and most hyped miniseries/event for some time. The company has been building toward this moment for nearly two plus years, and now that it is finally here, does Harbinger Wars 2 end with a bang or a whimper? Are we left with a lot of build up to a lacklustre ending, or did Valiant break the mould and deliver a story that has a high quality and impact-full ending?

Uh… Kind of.

The issue wraps up almost every loose end and plot point, pulls most Valiant heroes to an agreement, and… just feels sort of underwhelming. In a comic that should provide an epic conclusion,  Harbinger Wars II #4  feels more like the  Cliff’s Notes version of what was an epic conclusion. There’s really no other way to describe the way that I felt coming out of this issue other than with a case of “Huh. That’s it?”  To  say that is a disappointment would be an understatement after the way the series opened with the Eric Heisserer scripted prologue; unfortunately, Matt Kindt‘s script just never quite lived up to that promise and gradually dropped in quality as the four issues progressed.

The saving grace here is the post finale scene with the surviving psiots talking about the ramifications of the events, and how they should react – it’s not quite enough to save the book, but it adds a bit of an upswing at the end.

Artistically, the issues feels muddled. There is quality there, but once again something feels off – although full disclosure here, I read this comic in a coffee shop on my laptop, and am prepared to give the benefit of the doubt that various contributing factors (glare, the watermark on the review copy and the brightness) may have had an adverse effect on the art, so I’m not going to penalize the comic for things it can’t control.

Although this comic will (potentially) change the way the characters in the Valiant universe react, and it should have very far reaching consequences, you will be able to get the same conclusions and information from reading a preview pages (where relevant) in an upcoming Valiant comic or a synopsis online.

To say I am disappointed this series ended this way would be true, but there’s always hope for the Aftermath, right?

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello with Renato Guedes
Colours: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 6.0 Art: 8.2 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read if you’ve come this far

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Harbinger Wars 2 #4

HARBINGER WARS 2 #4 (of 4)

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO with RENATO GUEDES
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by J.G. JONES
Cover B by MICO SUAYAN
Interlocking Variant by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
HW2 Icon Variant by FELIPE MASSAFERA
Pre-Order Edition by KHARI EVANS
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale AUGUST 29th

THE FINAL BATTLE! LIVEWIRE VS. THE VALIANT UNIVERSE!

We called it the biggest, most impactful, most ambitious Valiant event ever attempted – and we meant it! From across the Valiant Universe, the paths of all of the world’s most formidable heroes – X-O Manowar, the Harbinger Renegades, Bloodshot, Ninjak, the Secret Weapons, H.A.R.D. Corps, and dozens of newly activated psiots – have finally converged, drawn together by their old ally Livewire’s last-ditch effort to protect the powerless.

Now, the long-brewing battle between Valiant’s greatest icons will finally reach the stratosphere – literally – and, out of the ashes, a new order for the Valiant Universe will be hewn as New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (X-O MANOWAR, DIVINITY, Mind MGMT) and comics juggernauts Tomás Giorello (X-O MANOWAR) and Renato Guedes (SHADOWMAN) present the MUST-READ comics showdown of 2018…and no one gets out unscathed!

Harbinger Wars 2 #4 – Matt Kindt & Tomás Giorello Bring the Final Battle!

Valiant has released a first look within the fully lettered and colored pages of Harbinger Wars 2 #4, the final issue of this summer’s seismic event series!

On August 29thEisner-nominated writer Matt Kindt and superstar artist Tomás Giorello, the creative minds behind 2017’s massively best-selling X-O Manowar – alongside sensational artist Renato Guedes – all convene to loosen the tides of war in an unforgettable firefight!

From across the Valiant Universe, the paths of all of the world’s most formidable heroes – X-O Manowar, the Harbinger Renegades, Bloodshot, Ninjak, the Secret Weapons, H.A.R.D. Corps, and dozens of newly activated psiots – have finally converged, drawn together by their old ally Livewire’s last-ditch effort to protect the powerless. Now, the long-brewing battle between Valiant’s greatest icons will finally reach the stratosphere – literally – and, out of the ashes, a new order for the Valiant Universe will be hewn!

Featuring covers by J.G. JonesMico SuayanJuan José Ryp, and Felipe Massafera!

Review: Harbinger Wars 2 #3

HW2_003_COVER-A_JONESDivided but not yet conquered, Livewire and the Harbinger Renegades are making their last stand for the fate of their fellow psiots! Targeted by X-O Manowar and the governmental forces of the H.A.R.D. Corps, the most powerful players behind the cataclysmic conflict that has torn America asunder are about to converge in a violent conflict where the ultimate fate of the Valiant Universe will be decided… And Ninjak and Bloodshot are about to get a crucial new role in the heart of it all!

Dispensing with any real introduction to this review beyond the above blurb, let’s dive right in, shall we?

Valiant have been hyping this event for a long time, and with this issue we finally see what side of the coin the publisher falls on as two characters face off in a small yet important altercation amidst the larger scale war that is encompassing almost all your favorite Valiant characters. But as the tensions ramp up, the comic starts upon a near nonstop thrill ride from the first panel to the last, with either the physical or psychological action at the forefront of each page.

It’s the escalated tensions that lead to my only problem with the book, and it’s one that has appeared earlier in the series as  once again Bloodshot’s nanites are manipulated in new and unique ways that took me out of an otherwise fantastic story. Whether that’s because of my own feelings based upon the use of Bloodshot in this way, or that the usage felt too much like a convenient way to have the character appear that much more threatening, I’m not sure. Either way, the sequence produced some fantastic visuals.

And that, honestly, is where this book shines, because Harbinger Wars 2 #3 looks incredible. Which is hardly surprising given then pedigree of the artists working on this book (full details below).

As the third chapter in the four issue event, we’re left with a lot of the plot addressed, or set up for closure in the fourth, but there’s very little to make this comic an absolute must read; oh it’s good, it’s very good, but without the context of the other two issues it falls a little shy of the “oh my shit, you have to go buy this yesterday!”… but if you’re already invested in the series, you won’t be disappointed here.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello and Renato Guedes
Colours: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.7 Art: 9.3 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Harbinger Wars 2 #3 (of 4)

HARBINGER WARS 2 #3 (of 4)

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO with RENATO GUEDES
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by J.G. JONES (MAY182076)
Cover B by MICO SUAYAN (MAY182077)
Interlocking Variant by JUAN JOSÉ RYP(MAY182078)
HW2 Icon Variant by FELIPE MASSAFERA (MAY182079)
Pre-Order Edition by TOMÁS GIORELLO
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale JULY 25th

All hands on deck!

Divided but not yet conquered, Livewire and the Harbinger Renegades are making their last stand for the fate of their fellow psiots! Targeted by X-O Manowar and the governmental forces of the H.A.R.D. Corps, the most powerful players behind the cataclysmic conflict that has torn America asunder are about to converge in a violent conflict where the ultimate fate of the Valiant Universe will be decided… And Ninjak and Bloodshot are about to get a crucial new role in the heart of it all!

From coast to coast, New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (X-O MANOWAR, DIVINITY) and superstar artist Tomás Giorello (X-O MANOWAR, NINJA-K) are about to unleash a sonic boom of seismic consequences as Valiant’s spectacular summer event rages forward!

Harbinger Wars 2 #3 – Matt Kindt & Tomás Giorello Send Shockwaves Through the Valiant Universe on July 23rd!

All hands on deck!

Valiant has released a first look within the pages of Harbinger Wars 2 #3 (of 4), the next incendiary installment in the SEISMIC COMICS EVENT OF 2018! On July 25th, Eisner-nominated writer Matt Kindt and sensational artist Tomás Giorello rush past the point of no return and deliver another unstoppable onslaught upon the heroes of the Valiant Universe!

Divided but not yet conquered, Livewire and the Harbinger Renegades are making their last stand for the fate of their fellow psiots! Targeted by X-O Manowar and the governmental forces of the H.A.R.D. Corps, the most powerful players behind the cataclysmic conflict that has torn America asunder are about to converge in a violent conflict where the ultimate fate of the Valiant Universe will be decided… And Ninjak and Bloodshot are about to get a crucial new role in the heart of it all!

Featuring covers by J.G. JonesMico Suayan, Juan José Ryp, Felipe Massafera, and Lewis LaRosa!

Review: Harbinger Wars 2 #2

HW2_002_COVER-A_JONESFrom East to West, the nation has been cleaved down the middle as Livewire’s defensive attack on the U.S. power grid envelops America in darkness and sets the stage for the biggest clash of powers ever witnessed… On one side, Peter Stanchek’s ragtag team of Renegades – alongside their newly activated army of untrained and wildly unstable psiots – ready themselves for an unsparing firefight with H.A.R.D. Corps and the agents of Omen. On the other, Ninjak and Bloodshot prepare to enter Livewire’s domain inside blacked-out Los Angeles. But as the casualties pile up and the losses mount on both sides, none of them will be ready to confront the full fury of raw power personified as X-O Manowar makes his long-awaited return after a year of self-imposed exile among the stars…and delivers a single concussive strike that will send shockwaves across the whole of the Valiant Universe!

Harbinger Wars 2 is the long awaited, and much hyped, sequel to Valiant’s first event series, coincidentally named Harbinger Wars. Needless to say, there are a lot of expectations leveled against the series from Valiant fans, and the question of whether or not the series will meet those expectations remains up in the air.

On the surface, there’s very little wrong with the comic. Certainly nothing that readers who aren’t intimately familiar with the publishers characters will notice, but for those who have read certain series (Harbinger, Imperium, Harbinger Renegade) there may be issues with the specific actions of a certain character. Now, there may be a specific answer to this behaviour that we’ll see prior to the conclusion of the story, but as it stands… it makes no sense as to why a man who can fly as easily as you or I eat would be running anywhere. As it stands, I’m giving Matt Kindt the benefit of the doubt here, but one can claim that there’s a lack of understanding of the character, and fairly so based upon what we’ve seen so far, but the story isn’t over yet – and Kindt has proven himself worthy of patience.

Where you don’t need patience, however, is with the artwork. But with an artistic team of the calibre that this book holds, one shouldn’t be surprised by this. Tomas Giorello and Renato Guedes, who share the line-work duties, are joined by colourist Diego Rodriguez and letterer Dave Sharpe. This book is an utterly beautiful comic, and where one can find issues with the story and plot, one cannot fault the art or presentation of the book.

The story may be struggling, but if you’re looking for a reason to buy this book, it’s the art. Matt Kindt, and Valiant, have earned enough trust over the years that one dodgy book which, in fairness, is still a better than average read – Valiant have a strong reputation for a reason, and the second issue of their big summer event isn’t their best offering this week. It happens. Just not typically to this publisher.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello and Renato Guedes
Colourist: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 7 Art: 9.2 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Harbinger Wars 2 #2

HARBINGER WARS 2 #2 (of 4)

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO and RENATO GUEDES
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by JG JONES (APR181842)
Cover B by MICO SUAYAN ­­(APR181843)
Interlocking Variant by JUAN JOSÉ RYP (APR181844)
HW2 Icon Variant by FELIPE MASSAFERA (APR181845)
Pre-Order Edition by TOMÁS GIORELLO (MAR181989)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale JUNE 27th

And so…the unstoppable X-O Manowar enters the fray!

From East to West, the nation has been cleaved down the middle as Livewire’s defensive attack on the U.S. power grid envelops America in darkness and sets the stage for the biggest clash of powers ever witnessed… On one side, Peter Stanchek’s ragtag team of Renegades – alongside their newly activated army of untrained and wildly unstable psiots – ready themselves for an unsparing firefight with H.A.R.D. Corps and the agents of Omen. On the other, Ninjak and Bloodshot prepare to enter Livewire’s domain inside blacked-out Los Angeles. But as the casualties pile up and the losses mount on both sides, none of them will be ready to confront the full fury of raw power personified as X-O Manowar makes his long-awaited return after a year of self-imposed exile among the stars…and delivers a single concussive strike that will send shockwaves across the whole of the Valiant Universe!

The most powerful Valiant event attempted continues in full force with another seismic chapter as New York Times best-selling author Matt Kindt (X-O MANOWAR, Mind MGMT) and superstar artist Tomás Giorello (X-O MANOWAR) unleash X-O Manowar on a world he thought he’d left behind…and fire off the next brutal volley in the coast-to-coast clash of comics icons that will leave no hero unscathed!

Harbinger Wars 2 #2 – Matt Kindt & Tomás Giorello Draw Their Battle Lines on June 27th!

Valiant has released a first look at the lettered pages for Harbinger Wars 2 #2 (of 4), the SEISMIC CROSSOVER EVENT OF 2018! On June 27th, the Earth-shattering crossover continues in full force with another epic chapter, as Eisner-nominated writer Matt Kindt and superstar artist Tomás Giorello unleash X-O Manowar on a world he thought he’d left behind…and fire off the next brutal volley in the coast-to-coast clash of comics icons that will leave no hero unscathed!

From East to West, the nation has been cleaved down the middle as Livewire’s defensive attack on the U.S. power grid envelops America in darkness and sets the stage for the biggest clash of powers ever witnessed… On one side, Peter Stanchek’s ragtag team of Renegades – alongside their newly activated army of untrained and wildly unstable psiots – ready themselves for an unsparing firefight with H.A.R.D. Corps and the agents of Omen. On the other, Ninjak and Bloodshot prepare to enter Livewire’s domain inside blacked-out Los Angeles. But as the casualties pile up and the losses mount on both sides, none of them will be ready to confront the full fury of raw power personified as X-O Manowar makes his long-awaited return after a year of self-imposed exile among the stars…and delivers a single concussive strike that will send shockwaves across the whole of the Valiant Universe!

Featuring covers by J.G. JonesMico SuayanJuan José Ryp, and Felipe Massafera!

Review: Harbinger Wars 2 #1

HW2_001_COVER-B_SUAYANFor the rare and immensely powerful subset of humanity known as psiots, their unique abilities have come with an enormous cost. Once, their existence was known only to a select few. Now, the revelation that thousands of these latent telekinetic “harbingers” secretly live among us…with the potential to be activated at any moment…has led the American government to a dramatic tipping point…

Armed with new extra-governmental authority, the deep-black military contractor known as Omen has been authorized to identify, evaluate, and, if need be, eliminate all super-normal threats to the homeland. H.A.R.D. Corps units have been deployed into cities and towns across the United States to enforce their orders.

In the East, one of the most powerful minds on Earth, Peter Stanchek, is leading his band of Renegades across the country, activating any potential psiots willing to join them, and building an insurrection force of ultra-powerful and unwieldy new abilities that will soon bring war to Omen’s doorstep…and the unstoppable force known as X-O Manowar raging back to Earth…

In the West, Livewire – the telekinetic technopath with the ability to bend machines and computers to her will – will be forced to choose between her former allies…or her newfound team of Secret Weapons. As the situation escalates beyond human control, the United States will be plunged into darkness from coast to coast, launching Bloodshot and Ninjak into a dangerous mission to neutralize their one-time teammate – and setting the stage for the most shocking, most violent, and most consequential clash of powers ever witnessed in the history of the Valiant Universe!

Valiant have been building to this series for some time now, and as with anything a publisher has been building and hinting toward for nearly two years, there are some lofty expectations that Harbinger Wars 2 is going to have to meet. Without any preamble, the first (or second if you count last month’s Prelude as the first) issue of Harbinger Wars 2 establishes a quality that given the caliber of the creative team shouldn’t be a surprise, but it is a welcome relief to know that Valiant’s biggest event in years doesn’t start out with a fizzle.

Instead, Matt Kindt spends the issue carefully establishing where the different aspects of the Valiant universe ahead of the inevitable conflict that fans should expect in the following issues. That isn’t to say that there is no tension within the issue, because while he’s establishing the players Kindt is also setting the stage for which each character will take when the conflict begins. With the stage set for allies to go against allies, at least within the first issue, there isn’t a clearly defined set of antagonists or protagonists which allows the reader to come to their own conclusion as to who they agree with based upon the information at your disposal. As far as these things go, Kindt expertly stays within the grey area and the comic is all the stronger for it.

Harbinger Wars 2 #1 also excels in its visual presentation. Tomas Giorello (art), Diego Rodriguez (colors) and Dave Sharpe (letters) lend the script a suitably moody atmosphere with Giorello’s hyper detailed work complimented by the muted colour palate that Rodriguez uses to emphasize the impending doom in the script.

As far as opening salvos in top billed events go, Valiant have a nigh on perfect offering here. I can’t wait to see where the pieces fall as the story unfolds.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello
Colors: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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