Harbinger #21 Review

The tension mounts in Harbinger #21  as Toyo Harada is once again on the warpath after @X (AX) has released sensitive information about both the Harbinger Foundation and Project Rising Spirit and aided by Peter and his Renegades. Loyalties are tested and the Renegades will have fewer choices as the walls start to close in around them.

Official description from VALIANT:
Resistance’ ratchets up the stakes! Peter and the Renegades wanted information to be free, but now they’re about to pay a very steep price. Once again, the Renegades are on the run with the combined forces of the Harbinger Foundation and Project Rising Spirit closing in on all sides. This time, however, the team’s newest member, Ax, has left a trail of leaked classified information that could win the day – but also put the few loved ones they have into dire peril. And now the moment has come when they must choose between their fate and their families…

Joshua Dysart uses the opportunity of Peter and the Renegades on the run from Harada to show the cracks in the armor the team is suffering and readers are reminded that the majority of the group of teenagers and with that comes immaturity and impatience. All these factors threaten to expose the team at the worst possible time. The group is hiding out in downtown L.A. and their base is buried far underground. Cabin fever is setting in for Charlene and causing some serious doubts in her judgement. Monica Jim is feeling the need to get out of the bunker and as the youngest of the team understands very little of the threat she causes by using her powers.

HAR_021_COVERDysart also lets Kris vent some frustration as she confronts Ax about the dire consequences his actions have caused making Peter to play peacekeeper and protector. The stress is starting to takes it’s toll on Peter as well and one can only wonder if he’s heading for a meltdown of Harada type proportions. Faith is still the calm one of the group and after Charlene’s failed attempt at relieving some stress it’s Faith who actually gets the reward. It’s the truth of teens and hormones and Dysart isn’t afraid to put those emotions and feelings on full display.

We finally get some perspective of Ax and his motivations for going after Harada and Rising Spirit but his tactics may bring everything crumbling down around him as well. There’s a lot a play under the surface and Dysart knows just how to tell you enough without showing what he’s holding in his hands. In the end it becomes clear that Monica Jim and her youth could be the biggest problem for Peter. She’s young, restless and angry which makes for a volatile cocktail.

Clayton Henry does a nice job with all the various scenarios laid before him. Not much action this issue but the emotions of the characters are on full display and Henry handles it with equal skill as any high impact action sequence. Most of the story takes place underground and you can feel the tight quarters which escalates the anxiety and tension.

After all the events an d actions that have taken place over the past several issues Harbinger #21 is a nice change of pace. Dysart gives readers a look at the team and their complex relationships which has been missing since the final battle in Las Vegas. The dynamics of the team are on full display here and Dysart doesn’t hold back on what makes these characters tick under the most stressful situations. Harbinger is a great book and balances action and character development equally and makes it’s easy to invest in their fight to be free. Harbinger is one of the most entertaining books from Valiant that everyone should be reading.



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