4.10.2013

Harbinger #11 [Valiant Effort]

Harbinger #11 (Valiant): Joshua Dysart opens this issue with a 1960’s flashback that shows the tenuous relationship between early incarnations of Harada International and Rising Spirit Securities. Flashbacks of Toyo Harada are always fun in this series, but more importantly here we see how the two organizations are corporate competitors that pit different worldviews against each other. Harada operates with a bold sense of idealism, while Rising Spirit is more concerned with cold pragmatism guiding their actions. These competing paradigms inform the present, establishing the roots of the conflict between the Harbinger Foundation and Project Rising Spirit. In the present day, Peter and his crew are on a road trip headed to try and intercept the released psiots, while the Bleeding Monk urges Pete to “become what you are meant to be” on the mental plane. I really enjoyed the way this issue dovetails so cleanly with last week’s Harbinger Wars #1. There are shots and several lines of dialogue that are the same, so that if you chose to read both issues it enhances the overall experience, yet if you chose only to follow one or the other book – the regular series or the mini-series – you can still grasp the core essentials of what’s occurring. It’s the latest of many examples of how very smartly Valiant and their creative talent have chosen to methodically build their universe and craft their stories. The art team of Khari Evans and Trevor Hairsine establish a more consistent, more stable look, along with some weighty inks from Stefano Gaudiano, particularly in the 60’s flashbacks, that add a level of dark realism which is right at home in the moral complexities of this series. Peter is feeling the weight of leadership, trying to lead impulsive kids, and trying to really think through their decisions and their next play. It’s superheroics with smarts, something the industry could certainly use more of. Grade A.  

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