Writer: Rafer Roberts
Art: Raul Allen, Patricia Martin, Juan Jose Ryp, Darick Robertson & Richard Clark
Color: Patricia Martin, Frank D’Armata & Diego Rodriguez
Letterers: Raul Allen, Patricia Martin & Dave Lanphear
Publisher: VALIANT COMICS (November 2016)
We open with some background on psiots, Toyo Harada, the Harada Foundation and the Renegades. From there, we look at the past as Harada was trying to catch a psiot named Alexander Solomon. Yet … Solomon isn’t going quietly … if at all with Harada’s soldiers.
We spring board to the present as a group calling themselves the Consortium is work on activating psiots … and it is not working for them at all. After the NSA comes a knocking on a potential psiot named Jay, it leads to Faith and @X asking for help … from Torque and Kris. Faith desperately is trying to recruit help as the Consortium’s antics are out of control while Torque and Kris just want to move past what happened as all the names and technology they released to the public is now being used by the Consortium, the NSA and more on the unknowing potential psiots …
There’s nothing bad here. I just want more Alex Solomon. Yet, that doesn’t really count as bad either.
The Moment of the Issue:
Hahahahaha … So … besides one potential psiot losing her head over what’s happening … I think it is great to see Faith and Kris reunited, even though Kris’s girlfriend ain’t too happy with it.
We open with a quick, but lovely rendered, almost propaganda styled recap of the events of Harbinger. It nicely rounded up the events nicely, giving what was needed while Allen and Martin presents us with a great artistic look at the past … and a slight taste of the future.
Meanwhile, just as Ryp is killing it with Britannia, he and D’Armata rendered a wonderful jaunt into the past where we see Harada sending psiots to face the rather arrogant and classy Alexander Soloman. While not the gore fest we’ve seen Ryp done in past Valiant work, the clean, vibrant pencils with the super charged colors of D’Armata make the short trip a fun and gruesome ride. It hints as what is to come and it touches on a mystery that readers can continue to watch unfold when reading the series. There panel work was pretty nice mix of contemporary comics and the more cinematic style and Ryp made full use of it.
Of course, our main course was a very energetic, emotional and sharp opening tale that brings the tale of the Renegades return. Robertson’s work looks better than ever, with his unique style really playing to the strengths of the story as well as his own artistic strengths. The panel work was superb as Robertson made sure every last panel has striking detail, good use of backgrounds and great perspectives to allow readers to experience each characters actions and emotions. From the frightening recruitment of a young girl who is a potential psiot to NSA visiting one of our new characters, Jay, to the reunion between Kris and Faith … Robertson does not skimp on a single line of detail. Robertson also really gets to exercise with characters of all colors, shapes and sizes. I love Robertson’s Faith … pleasantly plump while still expressive. And the expressions really capture the emotions of the characters and the scene. Clark’s inks are exceptional, really bringing out a robustness to Robertson’s pencils as well as making everything look and feel weighty in a good way. The flames look a bit more dangerous. The anger looks palable. The energy from Robertson and Clark is electric and you can see it with every detail, perspective and line within the main story. Rodriguez’s colors breath a richness in the detail and a power that just demands attention when you look at any page of the main story. Together, they create an experience that goes through the rough damage wrought by our Renegades some time ago.
Roberts’ writing is excellent throughout all three works within this first issue. He sets up a digestible version of events of the previous volume of Harbinger well. making all the right plot points that brought us to this moment. Meanwhile, his second story sets up some mystery, intrigue and danger as we meet the enigmatic Alexander Solomon … a psiot that Harada clearly wants taken out, but proves to be a very hard kill. There is an air of arrogance and pedigree to Solomon you see in classic villains, but done with a modern slant with the right amount of sarcasm. It’s good set up and while it doesn’t really tell us much, it certainly wets the appetite of readers. Finally, our main story was a strong tour de force. A lot of moving parts throughout this issue as we got introduced to the new threats of the Consortium and the NSA, but re-establishes the old Harbinger team and where they are at now. Roberts make compelling arguments about moving on from the past while also challenging that thought with dealing with consequences for today. Roberts examines the personalities of our Renegades in various ways, with the exception of Peter. Torque is happy being a tv star and doesn’t want to care about anything else. Kris has worked hard to rebuild her life and she (alongside her girlfriend) does not want to shake that up. Consequences for your actions is a big theme here and they are logically compounded. Yet, I admit. This was not what I was expecting when the Renegades and I applaud Roberts for keeping myself and other long time readers on our toes. On the flip side, Roberts makes this first issue as accessible to new readers as possible, allowing readers to experience the characters, their motivations and personalities. Roberts does this intelligently, allowing the characters show themselves to the readers and each other based on situations they are facing. Faith and Ax definitely do their best to give the sounding points of responsibility for their actions, yet Torque, Kris, and to some extent,Tamara (who I love already) show their reasonings behind not getting involved in anything. Kris especially took it hard and her girlfriend, Tamara, doesn’t seem to be having it. And Roberts makes new character Jay very likable. I really hope we see more from Tamara, Jay and Ax, not just our main 4 Renegades as the series moves one. Roberts really crafts a strong, fun first impression here.
Harbinger Renegades #1 is a shining beacon of a beginning that should what happens after you pull something big off. There are consquences and those consequences have long reaching effects that leave impressions on people. Roberts crafts this theme throughout the issue and allow the characters to bathe in those consequences and their feelings. The art was truly superb by each art team, allowing readers to be drawn into the world of Harbinger again. This first issue gave a lot to old fans while been easy and accessible to new readers. Harbinger Renegades # 1 hit all the right moves in this first issue while leaving enough dangling plots out for the series to continue for some time. This book had a little bit of almost everything and it’s a solid read.