Harbinger Renegade #1 – The Advance Review

Last night I got to sit down and read the first issue of the new Harbinger Renegade series by Rafer Roberts and Darick Robertson. I’ll admit going in that I wasn’t as up-to-date on the Harbinger series as I am some of the other Valiant titles. But that’s okay as it starts off with a few page recap that is very concise. The introduction is by Roberts and Raul Allen and gives us the backstory of Toyo Harada, Peter Stanchek and the Renegades. In just a few stylized pages they give you enough to dive right in.

Then we move onto a prologue by Roberts and Juan Jose Ryp. The Harada Global Conglomerates are sending a strike team against a Psiot named Solomon who seems very powerful and well prepared for just about anything. Solomon takes out three waves of soldiers and a new Psiot named Ruina who had enhanced strength. He did so through preparation, never actually confronting the enemy. We get the impression that Harada knew this would be a difficult assignment, but we see a different Harada, when who doesn’t seem as powerful as before.

The main story begins with Ax from the now disbanded Renegades trying to talk Torque into returning to help. Seems the world is a very different place now that they released all of HGC’s information on Psiots to the world. The list of potentials along with how to activate them is in everyone’s hands and a group called the Consortium is trying to do just that… and not having a lot of luck. Between HGC, the Consortium and the NSA, anyone on that list is in danger. Ax and Faith are trying to help, but it’s a bigger job than they can handle. Faith ends up going to Kris Hathaway when she needs help with someone she’s trying to protect, but Kris, like Torque, wants nothing to do with any of it. But she does try and reach out to Peter… who is kind of far away.

This is a great first issue for a re-launched series. In a few short pages, they catch the reader up, then in the prologue we get to meet the Big Bad… and then in the story, we learn the scope of the situation before we really get to meet all the players. By the time we get to the end and see Peter, we’ve had this building scale of power and it ends with an “oh wow” moment.

The writing is quick and lean. After the introduction, there really isn’t a lot of exposition. We jump into the action and keep going, never really giving the reader a down moment. The art for each part is strong. Allen’s intro pages are stylistic but restrained to allow the information that was needed to be given. Ryp brings the brutality of the prologue to life with intensity. And finally Robertson his clean, unique style to the Valiant universe, creating a world filled with both vulnerable and powerful characters. And he can still easily make a guy in a suit seem like a douche.

I really enjoyed this first issue and look forward to it continuing the build up to Harbinger Wars II.

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About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.