Review - Harbinger #1

Oh to be a telepath. Hearing everyone's incessant thoughts, the ability to control thoughts and, often, a pill addiction to block out the thoughts. All facets of telepathy are on display in Harbinger #1, the latest in the Valiant rebirth.

The first issue is titled "Omega Rising #1" and is written by Joshua Dysart, illustrated by Khari Evans, colored by Ian Hannin and lettered by Rob Steen.

The issue starts with a set-up in 1951 Tibet, where Chinese soldiers are chasing after an 18-year-old Toyo Harada. He convinces them to "Protect me from yourselves," prompting the soldiers to turn and fire on one another.

Fast forward to present day, where Peter Stanchek is also an 18-year-old with a propensity for controlling and reading thoughts. Peter deals with it in his own way, by convincing pharmacists to give him prescription painkillers that help dull his thoughts and block out the conversations Peter hears from everyone's heads.

Peter happens to be on the run from a mysterious pursuer known only as Tull. His reasoning behind seeking Peter is a little unclear at the moment, but it likely has something do with his abilities. His abilities that Peter is learning to focus better by the end of the issue in encountering Toyo.

On its surface, Dysart's story seems a little standard. Peter is the character whose accepted his abilities and capitalizes on them for his benefit on many occasions. The difference in this story is that there's a grittiness to it where you feel almost dirty. Peter and his cohort are on the run and while his friend actually is schizophrenic, Peter is only perceived as such.

It reads a little like The Matrix, where Peter is Neo and Tull is Mr. Smith. Harbinger #1 isn't a blatant ripoff or anything, but the story does seem familiar. The rivalry between Peter and Tull will be interesting to see play out over the course of the series (or at least the first story arc).

The art by Evans is solid. Peter is depicted as a very angry individual, partly because he hears everyone's thoughts and partly because he's arrogant where he thinks he's better than everyone else. That anger is further accented by Hannin's colors, which are on the darker side of the hue spectrum.

Harbinger #1 is an interesting first issue in what could be an interesting series. Watching Peter continue to come to terms with his powers will likely lead to more harm than good. Tull is something of a wild card and that unpredictability will keep the series fresh.

Harbinger #1 is available now.