REVIEW: ‘The Harbinger,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Harbinger #2

The Harbinger #2 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. Part two of “Be Better” finds Peter Stanchek coming face to face with a monstrous and immensely powerful psychic…who claims to be Peter Stanchek. Unfortunately, Peter has little time to process these events, as the mysterious mercenaries known as the Warning have invaded Psiot City and illegally detained most of its citizens. This leaves Peter to make a major decision.

Freidrich Nietzsche famously said, “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster…when you gaze long into the abyss the abyss also gazes into you.” Lanzing and Kelly take that to heart with the dual versions of Peter, specifically the “Good” Peter who is trying to change despite the “Bad” Peter verbally tearing into him with every chance he gets. Every superhero from Spider-Man to Spawn has faced an evil version of themselves, which serves as a twisted version of their fundamental beliefs. The difference with Peter is that his “Bad” self has a point; he has caused pain and suffering in the past. But he’s trying to change, and while it may not be perfect, the effort is there.

The art team steps up to the challenge of presenting two different versions of the same character. Rodriguez draws Good Peter as wearing normal clothing and having the build of an average man his age, with shaggy brown hair and blue eyes. In contrast, Bad Peter is cloaked from head to toe in clothing that obscures his face, and glimpses reveal scarred skin and a fanged, inhuman grin. Renzi’s color art further helps separate the two, with Good Peter wearing shades of bright blue and Bad Peter’s skin taking on a sinister magenta hue. These color schemes even bleed out into Otsmane-Elhaou’s lettering, as both versions of Peter are locked in a heated debate throughout the issue.

I also have to give props to Rodriguez and Renzi for a pair of eye-popping double-page spreads, especially the first two pages, as Peter is shown literally fighting with himself. The second pits Peter against the Warning, with each member and their specific powers. And if you haven’t already guessed, the so-called “superheroes” are sociopaths who think their power gives them the right to do whatever they want. Superheroes who aren’t that super have focused on recent television shows, including The Boys and Invincible. This comic finds a way to put a new spin on that trope as Peter decides to be a real hero to combat the Warning.

The Harbinger #2 throws multiple roadblocks into Peter Stanchek’s road to redemption, including literally fighting his inner demons. With the next issue slated to introduce Peter’s superhero costume, the book looks to put its own spin on the “teenage superhero” trope, and I look forward to it. Long live the Harbinger.

The Harbinger #2 is available wherever comics are sold.


The Harbinger #2
4

TL;DR

The Harbinger #2 throws multiple roadblocks into Peter Stanchek’s road to redemption, including literally fighting his inner demons. With the next issue slated to introduce Peter’s superhero costume, the book looks to put its own spin on the “teenage superhero” trope, and I look forward to it. Long live the Harbinger.