Thursday, October 1, 2015

Review - Book of Death: The Fall of Harbinger #1 (@ValiantComics)


"My name is Peter Stanchek. I am the Omega. And I am flying to my death."

Psiots in the Valiant Universe are extremely powerful individuals who rely on their abilities to do crazy things like transcend time and space. Doing things like that definitely takes its tool and even the Psiots aren't immune to aging. Book of Death: The Fall of Harbinger #1 from Valiant Comics delves into the future of the Psiots. The issue is written by Joshua Dysart, illustrated by Kano and lettered by Dave Lanphear.

A showdown. An apocalypse. An ending. Many years from today, Peter Stanchek, the Renegades, the Harbinger Foundation, the Bleeding Monk, and Toyo Harada's Imperium all reach their terminus, as the entire planet becomes the battlefield for the most devastating psionic combat humanity has ever seen. The Great Destroyer, long prophesied and foreseen, comes to Earth at last. Who will survive...and what will be left of them?

The Harbinger series has primarily been about the rivalry between Toyo Harada and Peter Stanchek, both of whom exhibit abilities that make them some of the most powerful Psiots. Dysart relies on that rivalry to power Book of Death: The Fall of Harbinger #1, giving readers a reason for all the familiar players to come back together. Where Dysart really excels is by adding a sense of poignancy to the action, which gives a lot of emotional weight to the characters coming back together. Even Toyo seems to exhibit some level of contrition, which makes him out to be a more sympathetic character. His dialogue borders on monologuing at times, but it's not done in a way that cheapens the weight of the message he's trying to get across.

Kano's artwork in Book of Death: The Fall of Harbinger #1 is interesting. All of his characters have a silhouette feature to them that emphasizes their presence amidst others--this is most noticeable when it comes to the Psiots in particular. This is a book set in the future of the Valiant Universe and Kano renders them all in a way that's in-line with what you would expect them to look like. What's even more striking is Kano's use of colors, as the panels are awash in all manner of neons and primary colors. The panel layouts are intriguing and keep the visuals fresh throughout, including a slew of pages full of insets and staggered layouts.

Fans of the Harbinger series will feel right at home with Book of Death: The Fall of Harbinger #1, as the characters included have something of a getting the band back together feel. There's a headiness to their gathering that seems to indicate deeper and more profound meaning in their reunion. Dysart offers up a universe with seemingly infinite possibilities and scenarios by giving readers players they're familiar with. Kano's illustrations are effective at conveying the impacts of being Psiots has on individuals, as all the characters get their chance to demonstrate the ill-effects of aging. Book of Death: The Fall of Harbinger #1 is a one-shot that fits comfortably within the Valiant Universe, offering longtime readers a glimpse at some of their favorite Psiots.

Book of Death: The Fall of Harbinger #1 is in stores now.

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