Monday, July 16, 2012

Just Sayin'--HARBINGER (2012) #1 and #2

 So today was, for me, new comic day and the first two issues of Harbinger were in this month's haul.

 I was a fan of the early Valiant stuff back in the 1990s, and Harbinger was one of my favourite books--generally a slightly darker take on the X-Men paradigm wherein everything was inverted, more or less, and Professor X was recast as Toyo Harada, benign would-be ruler of the next generation of humanity. It was an interesting book, and I was quite impressed with it, especially given my surprise that Jim Shooter could actually write younger people in a slightly more natural style than I would have guessed from what he'd written previous.

 For its 2012 iteration, Joshua Dysart doesn't really reinvent the wheel--the story is still primarily occupied with keeping our heroes "on the run," though he's a good deal more ready to make the book's lead character, Peter Stanchek, a more morally ambiguous character earlier on than Shooter did, which allows him to highlight a few more realistic notions of what being an immensely powerful telepath might be like--namely, constantly doping yourself to shut out the multitude of voices being broadcast to you.

 There was some concern I noticed when the first Valiant book--X-O Manowar--launched, namely that it was decompressed all to hell. Harbinger . . .isn't, exactly, at least not in comparison to the original, because the original wasn't really a "team book," as much as an opportunity to throw a number of disparate characters together and let them play off each other while the larger conflict hummed along in the background. With regards to pacing, it's hard to compare Harbinger now with Harbinger then, because they're both kind of deliberately paced.

 There's also an effort to tie new-era Valiant continuity in a bit tighter than they did twenty years ago (Valiant books tended to gradually link up only after establishing their own identity--it's when they reversed that they got in a mess) and that's not bad, per se. Just. . .different.

 Khari Evans does a great job with the pencilling, and the whole package feels like it was worth the 4 bucks per issue. So far, it's a worthy successor to the original that adapts the best ideas but adds in enough shading to make it feel very much now.

 This was a pleasant surprise--I'm intrigued to see where this goes from here.

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