Review - Harbinger Wars #1

For the past year or so, Valiant has been nothing short of amazing. They've rebooted all their key franchises and done so in a manner that both pays respect to them as such, while also presenting them as new, fresh books for readers. Both Harbinger and Bloodshot are books that the publisher has made sure gets attention and rightfully so. The publisher's first crossover event features the two aforementioned books in a four-part series starting with Harbinger Wars #1.

The title is written by Joshua Dysart (via collaboration with Duane Swierczynski), illustrated by Clayton Henry, Clayton Crain and Mico Suayan, colored by Brian Reber and lettered by Dave Lanphear.

For decades, Toyo Harada’s Harbinger Foundation and the government’s own Project Rising Spirit have been waging a secret war over the rarest resource known to man – the unruly superhuman telekinetics known as Harbingers. Over the years, they’ve each collected a small army of these empowered children to inflict their agendas on the world. But now, the reformed Harbinger hunter known as Bloodshot needs to atone for his crimes – and he’s going to start by releasing two dozen of the most volatile Harbingers from their PRS prison and into the world.

Considering this is Valiant's first major event, Dysart does a phenomenal job in presenting it as such. If you've been reading the independent books up to this point, then you know the build-up has been there. Where Dysart excels is by making Harbinger Wars #1 feel like much more than just a crossover. It stands alone as a great book, buoyed by the backstories in other Valiant books. Having said that, the book isn't quite accessible to everyone.

If you've been devoted to Valiant and all their titles, you've seen the groundwork being laid for this mini-crossover. If you haven't, well, there's a lot that you may miss. The issue stands alone and there's a good narrative to bring the reader up to speed, but you'll definitely appreciate it more if you've been reading Bloodshot and/or Harbinger.

The art team of Henry, Crain and Suayan also do a fantastic job. Bloodshot has all the requisite anger spilling out of his physique, while the Harbingers are illustrated all showcasing their powers. There's an almost photorealism to the book that makes the pages seem shiny and it works. There are some panels that look a little dark and there's an almost cartoonish looking lion that's a manifestation of one of the Psiots, but overall, the art is a solid addition to the comic.

Harbinger Wars #1 is a great example of what a careful, well-thought out crossover should be. It's got all the pertinent backstory in the individual series, meaning this one isn't bogged down by recaps. It's got Bloodshot in a slightly different role, as an almost "father" figure instead of cold-blooded killer. And it's got Psiots en masse, unleashed and angry. If the first issue is any indication, fans of the Valiant universe may be in for something special.

Harbinger Wars #1 is available now with interiors below.