Comic Book Review: Harbinger Renegade #0


Harbinger Wars 2 is the story I have been looking for to from Valiant for some time now. When I first got into Valiant Comics, it was the stories leading up to the first Harbinger War that pulled me into this universe. Such a captivating story about survival and standing up to those who show cruelty to those they see as different or threatening. I do admit that the only story I have been able to keep up with is the Secret Weapons group, though that was alone enough to grab my interest in what the psiots now find themselves fighting for and against.

It was unexpected that this prelude to Harbinger Wars 2 would begin with a story focusing on the H.A.R.D. Corps. It made sense in the sense that these guys are the usual trouble for psiots worldwide, though it goes without saying that you might have been thinking of another lead into what kicks off this crossover event. Having said this, it was interesting to see the state that this group finds themselves in after the ‘Massacre’ issue of Harbinger Renegades. For s much of a success their mission was against the Generation Zero, they still took some heavy losses along the way.

If you’re someone like me and really fell in love with the H.A.R.D. Corps book in the past, then this was a story you could get into. It’s not too often that you will get a strong focus on characters like Palmer and what’s now left of his team. They are a reminder that you never attach yourself to anyone on this side of the psiot war, but you still feel engaged for the fact that these people are consistently jumping head first into what is basically suicide missions. If you weren’t familiar with who these guys were, this creative team was smart about showing us the gist of what they do and what they are capable of. Pretty much seeing a mission that is by the books was necessary in making sure that everyone is on the same page about these characters involved. That aside, they were also the best characters to use when dealing with the likes of Alexander Solomon and the Stormbringer. They are the people you throw into danger without too much care for who lives and who dies with the exception of Palmer.

The mystery of this Stormbringer Monk was interesting to follow. You didn’t quite know what this was leading to till that moment came, though this being was important enough to create tension and conflict. The reveal itself was exciting because you were almost picturing something similar to the Bleeding Monk or the Undead Monk. However, this was more than enough to catch you off guard. Especially when the name said enough about what you might be dealing with. The action was brief and to the point, but it could be understood in those moments why this is a secret that even Toyo Harada grew to fear.

Of all of Valiant’s artists, Juan Jose Ryp and Andrew Dalhouse were the perfect pair for this issue. This story was full of terror and horrors which only an artist like Ryp could really capture best, I prepared myself for a lot that would be human about this war unfolding, though they created something unnatural through encounters with the Stormbringer and the things that kept him locked up. Everything about this mission gave you the chills because these things were wild, erratic and decomposed. The colors matched them very well bringing out that look of death through pale and unnatural blends of colors as well. This included the colors for the settings too. Nothing too bright or bold which worked when trying to set this story in a place where a normal day on the job turns into a nightmare. Their movements as well showed no signs of reason or meaning to their actions. With that said it was cool to see that there was more to them than simply hacking and slashing. That would have made it too easy for the H.A.R.D. Corps. The new members weren’t as distinctive as the ones we lost in ‘Massacre’ which was my only disappointment visually. Maybe it is because of the way this issue ended, but still you would care more for what happens to some of them if there was more personality to match their appearance.

Harbinger Renegade #0 was without a doubt a great set-up for what should be the most consequential Valiant event of all time. This revelation at the heart of the Harbinger mythos changed a lot about what you thought you knew about those who came before. Not all of them are as divine, or with good intentions. If you were looking to see what kind of tone and atmosphere this sequel should carry, Harbinger Renegade #0 is the story to make sure you pick up.

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