Harbinger 17 is the reveal of what happened after the Harbinger Wars battle of Las Vegas. We’ve gone this entire time thinking the team was victorious when in reality the exact opposite proved to be true. This is a tactic that isn’t often played with in storytelling because it could easily backfire on the writer. Usually a gaping plot hole is left because the audience has ignore certain things they were told. Here Joshua Dysart pulls this off cleanly and concisely in a “what really happened” story.
We find the truth to be that Pete Stanchek and his team were utterly defeated and we’re left to see them have to escape and pick up the pieces once again. Dysart, since issue one of this Valiant relaunch, has built a world with the theology of the X-men that blends with the family feeling of the best Teen Titan stories. What this story really shows off is the Harbinger universe’s trump card, Harda. This villain like the best villains in any story truly believes he has the world’s best intentions in mind. Where it wins in comparison to some of those villains like Luthor and Doctor Doom, is that as the audience we totally buy Harda’s motives.
The art duties of the series have been a roller coaster of hits and misses. Here Clayton Henry steps in to deliver a solid performance. One minor gripe might be that it’s too good. The weight and fatigue the characters are suppose to project doesn’t come across for them being in this setting that is almost utterly demolished. It’s a very minor complaint but one that could take away from Henry’s fantastic style in the art as well as Dysart’s carefully plotted story.
Overall Harbinger #17 is a reminder that Valiant is putting out quality products that deserve a spot on your lists every month. Ok someone say it! We need a relaunch of Rai, now!
7.5 out of 10! Sweet! It’s like the Hangover, if they’d had a super powered war and woke up captive in a secret bunker.