Harbinger (2012 Series) #2
Title: Omega Rising Part Two
Writer: Joshua Dysart
Art: Khari Evans & Lewis LaRosa
Letters: Rob Steen
Colors: Ian Hannin & Moose Baumann
Cover Art: Arturo Lozzi
Editor: Warren Simons
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Since its relaunch earlier this summer, Valiant Entertainment has been firing on all cylinders. While Harbinger #2 is by no means a misstep, it may be the first book in the line to fall victim to the hype machine. Promised as being something that would send old-school Valiant fans a-twitter, the book tells a solid story, but isn’t quite the mindblower we were led to believe.
Peter Stanchek has been on the run from the Harbinger Foundation for some time now. Along with his best friend (a mental case) and the girl he’s got a crush on (and who he’s used his powers on to force her to be with him), he now finds himself trapped by the very people he’s been fleeing. This issue sees a fateful confrontation between Peter and Toyo Harada, the architect of all his miseries… or is he.
The good thing about the new Valiant is, not unlike DC’s New 52 or the early days of Marvel’s Ultimate line, things are familiar enough that we have certain expectations, but have changed enough that it’s still reasonable for the writers to use those expectations against us, subvert them, and go in a different direction. This issue does that, and does it well. Is it enough of a subversion to make me recoil in shock and run away, though? No, no it isn’t.
The story works, fortunately. Peter faces up to some of his sins and pays the price for them, and in such a way that you’ve got to question whether one of the members of our cast is going to come back at all. Then again, perhaps that’s just par for the course in this new world – totally new ideas, totally new paths, somewhat familiar characters. I’d be okay with that.
Evans, LaRosa, Hannin and Baumann are doing a good job here on the artwork. As I think I’ve noted elsewhere, they’re making a good effort to make these characters look fairly realistic. They aren’t the perfect action figures or pin-up models that so many superhero comics feature, and in that way, they’ve actually got far more character than a lot of those other creations. The opening pages are perhaps the most striking, with colors that really set the tone perfectly and set the prologue apart from the rest of the issue.
Perhaps most striking – as it should be – is the cover. It’s a small moment that actually fits well into the issue itself, aside from just being a bizarre image that takes you by surprise. And thanks, Valiant, for actually using word balloons on covers – most publishers these days, it seems, are afraid of such a simple device, but when it’s done well, it adds a lot.
Good issue, and perhaps if I hadn’t had my expectations raised it would even have been great.