Advanced Review: Harbinger Wars 2 #1
Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Tomas Giorello
Colors: Diego Rodriguez
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Assistant Editor: David Menchel
Editor: Karl Bollers
Editor-In-Chief: Warren Simons
Spoiler alert: This review will contains some spoilers for the first issue of Harbinger Wars 2.
The first Harbinger Wars series Valiant Entertainment gave us was a story between the Renegades, led by Pete Stanchek, running from Harada and Project: Rising Spirits, meeting the Gen Zero kids. The flip side was Bloodshot trying to get the Gen Zero kids away from PRS and having to deal with various psiots still seeing him as the psiot killer. While the individual series delved a bit deeper into the main series story, it was still regarded as a high moment. Writers Josh Dysart and Duane Swierczynski put the characters out there to the world at large, as the psiots controlled a Vegas casino. Bloodshot joined with the H.A.R.D. Corps to take the fight to Toyo Harada. The Valiant universe is in a different place now. Gen Zero no longer exists, killed off by H.A.R.D. Corps. The Renegades are still on the run but Harada is nowhere to be seen. What could a second Harbinger Wars series give us?
Here, we see Peter Stanchek activating powers on a kid in Mexico and the forces of Project: Omen trying to catch him. He’s building his own little psiot army to deal with the forces of the H.A.R.D. Corps, who recently attacked psiots in Rook, Michigan. The attack left many members of Gen Zero dead and the rest captured. Meanwhile, the U.S. is without electrity due to Livewire turning the power off. She is upset over the deaths in Rook and the attempt to take out “her kids” from the Secret Weapons series. Pieces are gathering and taking sides, X-O manowar, who has been gone for some time, is back at just the right time to strike. Ninjak offers a grave warning for Livewire to end this, which then shows Bloodshot being on Livewire’s side.
This series is written by Matt Kindt, who currently writes X-O Manowar. There are a lot of pieces here and definitely shows that the stakes are high. A problem with this story is that for having a wide cast of characters, ones with a lot of history, they sure can’t wait to fight one another. It makes a lot of sense for Livewire to be defensive. These are psiots being targeted and she has so much history on that side. She was teammates in Unity with X-O and Ninjak and even romantically-involved with Ninjak, yet Ninjak couldn’t be more of a government-led weapon to her. X-O is also just as willing to join the fray and Bloodshot is waiting for his shot on Ninjak. It is a baffling situation when characters who have been teammates or lovers or those who have stared down some serious threats turn to threats so fast in these situations. Kindt’s story is a bit clunky to me in this way. Otherwise, everything else is quite fine.
Tomas Giorello’s art is my favorite thing about this. I have been so impressed with the amount of detail his work. Previously, he pencilled the opening arc of Ninja-K. Here, he gets to work with a larger collection of the Valiant U. No lie, I am kinda giddy with delight over the fact we’ll see him illustrate what’s surely to transpire in fight between X-O Manowar, Ninjak, Bloodshot and the various psiots. Speaking of which, for a book called Harbinger Wars, I feel it could have used more of the cast from Harbinger. We get a lot of Livewire, which makes sense; the prelude issue had her knocking out the power in the United States. But, HW2 has such a wide cast of characters that some stuff falls to the side. Unfortunately for me, it is the Renegades, the ones currently without their own book, that I want more of.
The prelude for Harbinger Wars 2 was as perfect a book as could be. That issue, scribed by Secret Weapons writer Eric Heisserer, showed a writer with a perfect understanding of the psiot characters that Valiant has. I don’t quite feel the same way about this first issue and do have some concerns. Sometimes, comics annoy me, especially hero-vs-hero stuff, because so few times do it ever make sense. I hope in the end, it makes sense here.
The first issue is a beauty and I hope the hero-vs-hero stuff is up to the task at hand.