REVIEW: ‘The Harbinger,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Harbinger #5

The Harbinger #5 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 Comics. Part one of “Life As An Act Of Assistance” occurs in the aftermath of Peter Stanchek’s battle with his darker half and finds the newly minted Harbinger using his powers to protect the residents of Psiot City from the Renegade’s wrath. But he also encounters opposition in his former teammate Faith Herbert and the psychic assassin William Crowley, better known by his nickname “Blam.”

The solicits for this issue teased Faith having a significant role, and fans of the Harbinger series written by Joshua Dysart are no doubt chomping at the bit to see how the fan-favorite flyer is incorporated into the ongoing story. However, they may have to wait until the next issue as Faith doesn’t show up until the closing moments of the issue. So instead, the story is dedicated to Peter’s superheroic adventures. Thanks to Lanzing and Kelly’s, the writing takes on a different dimension as Peter wrestles with massive kaiju and newly emerging psiots in addition to his inner turmoil concerning the Renegade’s actions. I also enjoy how Peter’s friends Ago and Cici don’t let him sink into the “tortured white man pain” route that most superheroes often take; you know you have real friends when they point out your issues and ways to fix them.

Rodriguez and Renzi also have a lot of fun crafting a montage featuring Peter’s more heroic moments. The standout has to be the aforementioned Kaiju fight because Rodriguez draws the most disturbing kaiju I’ve seen in a hot minute. It’s essentially a towering mass of purplish-grey skin with eyes hanging off of either side of its head and a massive square mouth filled with skyscraper-sized teeth. Rodriguez also depicts a POV sequence of Faith attacking Peter, with her fists slamming into the Harbinger’s face. And Blam has one of the most interesting villain designs ever; in addition to a long black trench coat and hat, he sports a feathered collar and a mask with a beak-like protrusion.

Color also plays a large part in shaping the story; most of it occurs at night, with a bluish-black hue surrounding the characters. The sole exception is Peter, who often wears red and blue whether he’s in civilian clothes or his Harbinger outfit. Otsmane-Elhaou’s lettering continues to incorporate sound effects into the art creatively. Peter gets hit in the stomach during the Kaiju battle, and a massive “SWOCK” is heard—he literally gets slammed into the sound effect itself.

The Harbinger #5 launches a new story arc that brings back a fan-favorite Valiant character and a new set of challenges for Peter Stanchek. This series continues to be one of the most visually inventive and emotionally resonant superhero series on the stands and the title I’d recommend for anyone looking to get into the Valiant Universe.

The Harbinger #5 is available wherever comics are sold.


The Harbinger #5
4.5

TL;DR

The Harbinger #5 launches a new story arc that brings back a fan-favorite Valiant character and a new set of challenges for Peter Stanchek. This series continues to be one of the most visually inventive and emotionally resonant superhero series on the stands and the title I’d recommend for anyone looking to get into the Valiant Universe.