ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘The Harbinger,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Harbinger #1

The Harbinger #1 is written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, illustrated by Robbi Rodriguez, colored by Rico Renzi, and lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. It is published by Valiant Entertainment. Peter Stanchek, an extremely powerful Psiot, wakes up in the middle of the street with his memories wiped. He only has a singular voice in his head, which gives him a simple command: “Be Better.” As Peter learns more about his past in the Harbinger program, he discovers a city of Psiots as well as a new group of enemies.

Valiant has chosen to relaunch most of its signature characters over the last few years, with Shadowman and Ninjak being key examples. The Harbinger is the latest Valiant property to receive this treatment, and it’s well deserved in my opinion. I first became aware of the Valiant Universe due to Joshua Dysart’s Harbinger, which mixed superheroic action with teenage drama. This issue is perfect for longtime Valiant fans as well as newcomers to the Harbinger story; all you need to know is that Peter has powerful psychic abilities and the world either reveres or fears him for it. Come to think of it, X-Men fans will also dig this series.

The issue marks another addition to a list of high-profile assignments for Lanzing and Kelly, following the Kang the Conqueror series for Marvel and the upcoming Batman Beyond: Neo-Year miniseries for DC Comics. They manage to weave a tale full of mystery and intrigue and utilize the history of previous Harbinger stories in the process. Though Peter is eventually given a clean slate due to his mind being wiped, his actions—both good and ill-willed—cast a shadow over his life. His fellow Renegades are nowhere to be found and his arch-enemy, Toyo Harada, is presumed dead. The ending of the issue also raises quite a few questions. Suffice it to say, Lanzing and Kelly have crafted a solid debut issue.

They are joined by Rodriguez and Rico, who deliver art that matches the twists and turns in Lanzing and Kelly’s script. Rodriguez helped co-create Spider-Gwen for Marvel and the same sensibilities that permeated Gwen’s adventures follow Peter, albeit with a different set of powers and stakes. Peter’s psychic powers allow him to fly, and he halts thousands of bullets fired at him with a single thought. In his wake, metal warps and wood shatter, and a panel shows him breaking the sonic barrier as he escapes military forces. Rico drenches the pages in bright and vibrant colors, with blue and pink standing out for Peter’s Harbinger jacket and his powers respectively. Otsmane-Elhaou has a chance to be creative with his lettering; telepathic messages have a border around them and sound effects follow Peter as he flies and falls to the ground.

The Harbinger #1 reinvents Valiant’s most popular comic book property, setting up a series of mysteries and continuing the same blend of teenage drama and superheroic action that is the series’ trademark. Longtime Valiant readers, along with fans looking to pick up a new comic book series, should add this to their reading lists.

The Harbinger #1 goes on sale on October 27 wherever comics are sold.


The Harbinger #1
5

TL;DR

The Harbinger #1 reinvents Valiant’s most popular comic book property, setting up a series of mysteries and continuing the same blend of teenage drama and superheroic action that is the series’ trademark. Longtime Valiant readers, along with fans looking to pick up a new comic book series, should add this to their reading lists.