After being hunted and on the run and surviving a full-on battle against Toyo Harada and Bloodshot in the Harbinger Wars, the fourth volume of Harbinger finds Peter and the gang with some well-earned rest and relaxation. Things are going perfect except for the fact that a couple of the kids can sense something strange no matter what the setting they find themselves in and the person who realises it most, is Faith. She knows the Peter they are hanging out with is not Peter and soon the environment around them starts to tear apart and we soon learn they have been under Harada’s control all along.
There are two sides in this book, Peter’s and Harada’s, and a lot going on between the both of them of which Joshua Dysart does a great job chronicling. The kids are trying to survive these strange worlds and Harada is trying to keep them there, especially so, as he captured them after their recent tussle and does not want them on the loose again. The fact that he has the ability to do so when he could just as easily kill them is another example and a testament to the power he wields, not to mention his ego and hubris.
It is also this ego and this hubris that has been touched upon in the past, but with that one action, of keeping them alive, tells us Harada may not be all bad. He is supposed to be the villain of the book but all he wants to do in the end is better mankind. To do that, he sometimes has to get his hands dirty and do things that he knows are wrong. But if a little wrong, or a lot of wrong, can make a lot of right, then what is the harm? It is that duality to his nature and his thinking that make him not only one of the most fascinating characters in the title, but in the entire Valiant universe.
Something that has been missing from this book for a little while now is a relationship. It has the teen angst, the insecurities and the overconfidence, and while it is hard on the run to initiate one, a romance is something that has long been due. Faith would be the obvious go-to person as her feelings for Peter are clear, and if she ever gets the chance to act on them, it will be one of the standout moments the title might yet witness. So it is great to see that Kris and Charlene are starting to come together as it expands the dynamic of the book and lends some possible fun wrinkles to future storylines.
Other characters are expanded on as well during this volume including Torque and Faith. We learn Torque is not as tough as he seems to be and is more like the little boy he truly is. Faith is growing in confidence with every passing issue. She is still, by far one of the most intriguing people in the book and it will be nice to see her really shine one day as that is the direction she seems to be heading. For now at least.
With Valliant’s books motoring on quite strongly, Harbinger remains one of the top books of the line. Not everything was perfect of course, as the scenes with Torquehalla ran on far too long. It was humourous for a moment, but quickly lost its shine. And while Barry Kitson is a great artist, it would have been nice if he did all of the artwork and not just some of the work. As it was though, the fourth volume was pretty good and looks like it will remain that way for quite some time.
4 out of 5