Reviews – Valiant Entertainment: 6/6/12 by Jerry Whitworth

 

Harbinger #1

Harbinger #1

HARBINGER #1

by Joshua Dysart (w) and Khari Evans (a)

 

Peter Stanchek has heard voices since he was a young boy, a phenomenon that led to him as being labeled crazy and institutionalized despite displaying other incredible abilities. Escaping from the hospital with his mentally unbalanced friend Joseph Irons, the pair have been on the run with a mysterious Mister Tull on their trail. Peter returns home to rekindle a childhood romance with Kris Hathaway which brings him directly into Tull’s sights as Peter meets the wealthy and powerful Harada Toyo on the mental plane, revealing the truth to Peter: Harada and Peter are Psiots, rare in that they were both able to naturally tap into the fantastic capabilities of the mind. Further, where Harada has measured his abilities discovering them to be vast, Peter’s ability has yet to even be explored. Harada has dreamed of Peter since the young man’s birth but waited until Peter has fallen his lowest, using his abilities to rape his childhood love Kris, to approach him and offer help as his teacher in order for Peter to join Harada’s crusade to save the world from itself.

 

My first impression of this issue is its structure is a bit confusing. You’re presented with several characters, jump back and forth between them, which made it difficult to follow the story. At times, the story is rushed, jumping from different times and locations as we establish Harada has mind powers and seems to be a big deal in the global economy, Peter also has mind powers and is on the run with a disturbed psychiatric patient to seek out a childhood love who has no interest in him, Mr. Tull who Joseph claims to have been lobotomized by Peter but tries to play it off, and Harada meeting Peter to explain in some ways some rather obvious declarations such as that Peter has mind powers (which I can see an argument made Peter was told his whole life he was crazy, but he obviously had mind powers and was seemingly aware of this earlier in the story) before offering himself as his guide. The best way to describe it is it seems likes everything was thrown out there so it can be done in this issue and in the next issue we can move forward now that we’re better informed. But, this approach makes this issue seem more like a preface rather than the first chapter in a series. The fact that the original Harbinger series was viewed by many to be one of the best series of its time and this issue is the second new title of the re-emerging Valiant line, it built expectations of what was going to be offered which I feel fell flat. At this point, I don’t particularly like any of the characters presented thus far despite the issue largely devoted itself to us getting to know them (in particular, Peter who stole and raped, the latter largely because he just wanted to feel better for a moment in the crappy turn of events in his life).

 

X-O Manowar #2

X-O Manowar #2

X-O MANOWAR #2

by Robert Venditti (w) and Cary Nord (a)

 

Aric and his men have been captured by the Vine and are enslaved aboard their colony space-faring ship where they plant and tend to what the Vine refer to as the offspring. After years of this service, Aric rallies his men to fight towards the ship’s armory where he dons the Vine’s sacred Shanhara suit of high-tech armor.

 

The latest offering to the X-O Manowar series could best be described as decompressed. Roughly half the issue shows the Vine’s slaves tending to the alien offspring and therein the defiance of Aric which was cruelly handled by severing his left hand. Then, the rest of the issue was discussing and executing Aric’s plan to raid the armory (which was not that complex a plan). It’s not until the final page that Aric bonds with the armor that the X-O Manowar character is identified with. In other words, this translates in that you had to go through at least three issues before finally getting a full issue with X-O Manowar.