harbinger 13 16 bit coverHARBINGER 13
Writer: Joshua Dysart
Artist: Khari Evans
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka –  Optimous Douche Ain’t It Cool News)

Here’s where I become a bit of a Hypocrite Douche for a second. I’ve railed for years against covers not having a Goddamn thing to do with the interior material. However, I’m giving Valiant a pass because these 16-bit video game homages stroke my nostalgia nads like no other. No, the material doesn’t take place in the late 80s or early 90s and no on plays video games. If I have to craft a loose defense, HARBINGER does fight Toyo Harada so in that sense the cover delivers on the material inside, but again I know that I’m reaching. I guess what I have a problem with is traditional covers that are all pose and no posse, wherein a splash page of ridiculous poses transplants original thought welcoming a reader. I know I’m old, but I found all of Valiant’s 16-bit month delightful and this was simply the icing on the HARBINGER WARS cake of goodness.

So what happened inside the book? Basically a plan gone very very wrong. This is the elongated seconds of HARBINGER WARS issue 3 where Pete Stancheck and the rest of his renegades completely garbazzled stopping BLOODSHOT and his fellow Project Rising Spirit refugees from reaching the casino compound in now deserted Las Vegas.

The entire mini event that’s run through BLOODSHOT, HARBINGER and HARBINGER WARS has rolled this way and quite frankly I wouldn’t have it any differently. This is cross-over in the truest form and clearly indicative of tight reins being pulled from an editorial standpoint. Not once has there been a gaffe, a misstep or anyone dialing it in as we see all too often when the Big 2 decide to blow our doors off. What’s also been great about this series as a whole is how much richness and much needed back-story this has added to the entire universe. We see what caused the bad blood behind Harada and PRS in some very groovy flashbacks to 1969. We’ve seen early forays into super human development with the power downloading H.A.R.D. corps and finally we’ve learned more about the children of this universe and their inescapable fate as pawns to the world’s power brokers.

This issue specifically was all hilarity as a plan that seemed unstoppable falls flat on its face from the get-go. Using a model (not built to scale of course), Pete masterfully crafts a way to actually sue everyone’s powers to stop BLOODSHOT and crew. Zephyr the early warning, Torque the tank to stop the armored Humvees from barreling  forward, Flamingo to toast the insdies, hell even Kris gets to use her non-powered tactical acumen to guide this eventual folly from inside their penthouse sanctuary.

What’s been the best part in all of this has been our position as readers. We know that both BLOODSHOT and the HARBINGER gang are fighting in the same side, the only problem is that no one has been able to talk to one another yet to realize it. I’ve also been enchanted with the calling out of Pete’s crew ridiculous idea to wear the costume of their enemy. That bad choice comes to full fruition this issue.

As we reach the story’s climax, I’m most intrigued to see the aftermath. Will we see a joining of the PRS kids with Pete’s crew? Will BLOODSHOT join them, give the kids up completely and continue the search for his lost identity. What about PRS and Harada, will we see the olive branch extended and a conglomerate formed or this merely the initial whispers of a much bigger war ahead.

I don’t have the answers and I don’t want them. The Valiant universe is more than a read, it’s the unfolding of a new epic mythology that knows the best part of comics comes from a symbiotic relationship of story instead of a forced parasitic appearance.