War Report – Harbinger Wars

Peter Stanchek and his band of outlaw psiots are in the Nevada desert when the Bleeding Monk decides to pay Peter a visit, more precisely, pulls Peter into his mind for a conversation where he is told about a group of young psiots who are being held against their will, but will soon be free.  Once free, the monk tells Peter he must help them for the betterment of the future, and to keep the existence of psiots a secret, protecting them from the general populace.  Toyo Harada, arguably the most powerful man on the planet is privy to the conversation and sets out himself to get the children to further his own goals.  On a third front, Bloodshot, known as the psiot killer by many, is out to free and also protect the kids at any cost.  As the breakout goes awry, Bloodshot makes off with half of the children while the other half steal a ship and crash into the Bellagio in Las Vegas where everyone and everything will soon come to a head.  Toyo and his team, Peter and the newly christened Renegades, Bloodshot and his rescued children, a reformed H.A.R.D. Corps and the kids in Las Vegas now called Generation Zero will learn what happens when psiots go to war.

Valiant, having only opened up shop less than two years ago has rolled out their very first event book entitled Harbinger Wars.  And it was a war that happened within the pages.  The main miniseries clocking in at four issues was short and concise telling a full story without the need of anything else and was a perfect showcase to focus two of their biggest properties.  But like the Big Two, Valiant also tied Harbinger and Bloodshot’s regular titles into the mini making for a true crossover.  The difference between these tie-ins and others of its kind was having them tell the story, or at least the part that pertained to them, from a different point of view, almost like a different camera angle in a film.  The main series could stand alone, but when reading Bloodshot or Harbinger, you received a better-rounded tale from each perspective.

There were some great character moments throughout the series such as Bloodshot battling his inner programming and trying to rise above it.  A new psiot named Cronus who can heal or destroy with his powers and leader of Generation Zero is a scene stealer and he looks to be a rising star in the Valiant stable of characters as he commands respect even at his young age.  Having absolute power corrupts absolutely as they say and it remains to be seen if Toyo is as corrupt as he seems. At times he appears as the sanest person around, well meaning and a man that truly cares for his people but at others, he also seems like the most insane person in the book going to extremes against anyone he considers an enemy.  His battle with Bloodshot was crazy at times, especially when Bloodshot infected Toyo with the nanites and thereby defeating him.  Of course Toyo would come back as there is no way he could be taken down so easily.  Some of the better moments though were with Faith/Zephyr, as she starts to show some more growth becoming more independent and more confident in herself.  The moment when she outruns the missile for the sake of her companions, possibly risking death at its hands is the moment when her character evolved and her friends regarded her with newfound respect.

Joshua Dysart and Duane Swierczynski have been writing some of the best stories that Valiant has been putting out and with Harbinger Wars, they have created a tense and powerful drama with more suspense and action than any one comic has a right to be.  With these books and the rest of the comics they put out being so strong, it remains to be seen just how much better Valiant can get when they are already near the top of the quality heap so to speak.  One thing we can always look forward to with Valiant is great stories with great writing and artwork to match with Harbinger Wars being a perfect example of such.

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