Seraph’s Sanctions: HARBINGER RENEGADES # 5

Writer: Rafer Roberts
Art: Darick Robertson & Richard Clark
Colors: Diego Rodriguez
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Publisher: VALIANT COMICS

The Breakdown: 

A couple of years have passed since the original Harbinger Wars event that Valiant had.  During that time, the H.A.R.D. Corps were reformed to tackle Generation Zero, who had taken over a hotel in Las Vegas. And that only lead to more complications with the Renegades and Harada and Bloodshot all getting involved in the event. Fast forward to today as we see … well … H.A.R.D. Corps vs. Generation Zero … round 2. Here’s a little spoiler …. the title isn’t lying.


The Bad: 

Not a single damn thing.

 

The Moment of the Issue: 

God. I can’t break my own rules by saying the whole issue … Sooooooooooooo … Yeah. I will say this. The whole major character dying thing … Wasn’t a lie and it is definitely the defining moment of the issue.

The Good: 

Well … there are a lot of things I can say about this book. Yet, I think I am going to do something slightly different this time and go with the fact that two main reactions to the events of this comic. And they are the following.

First is this:

 

And the other is this:

 

Each time I had these reactions, they were heart felt, primal reactions. And given that the story arc is called Massacre and is the lead in to the 2018 Harbinger Wars II … It certainly lead up to it. Let’s start with the art because Darick Robertson pencils some of the best work of his career and one of the best looking comics of 2017 here. There are such rich detail that isn’t overly complex, yet the pencils are full of life. This issue definitely let Robertson really cut loose and he took the moment and ran with it … all the way to the blood drenched, limb piled bank with it. Every panel has an electricity … an allure … whether it’s the H.A.R.D. Corps gearing up, meeting the new bosses of the H.A.R.D. Corps or the battle between Generation Zero and H.A.R.D. Corps. It is all amazing from start to finish and Richard Clark might be THEE inker for Robertson. The inks are pristine and fairly clean in this wonderfully blood drenched issue.  There’s a crisp edge to the inks from Clark that bring out Robertson’s pencil work more so than nearly any other inker that Robertson has had in his long career. The colors by Rodriguez (Wonderful last name by the way) are among some of the best I have ever seen in any comic ever. They brighten when the colors need to be lighter. They are gritter and darker when they need to be darker. The colors just blend so well with Robertson and Clark’s work that it is criminal. Every panel is drawn with care and colored with affection … even the bits where there is a lot of blood.

Roberts himself writers one of the finest openings to an arc this year. It is nice to see that the H.A.R.D. Corps are operating together again and that we are seeing some of their history being revisited. There’s a lot of important establishing moments throughout this issue that seem to be the building blocks of what is to come, particularly for Harbinger Wars II. Roberts makes sure to let himself get wild and violent as this first issue lives up to the monicker Massacre.  Yet, Roberts does a terrific job with characterization of all the members of the H.A.R.D. Corps as well as Generation Zero. He balances the violence with some great moments of interaction with each group. Roberts also paces the issue perfectly, allowing readers to stay clutched till the end of the issue while leaving them wanting more. The development for Major Palmer is a great step too, allowing that character to be displayed as the major player that he always “should have been.” With tight story, character interaction and just a hard hitting battle, Roberts makes Massacre part 1 a moment to remember.

The Verdict:

Harbinger Renegades # 5 decided to play with the extended universe around the Renegades, allowing readers see the H.A.R.D. Corps and Generation Zero again. Roberts uses this first part to set the pace and tone of the storyline as well as building up to next years Harbinger Wars II event. Roberts delivers tight characterization alongside moving plot and viciously brutal moments. Meanwhile, the art is absolutely superb. Some of the best I have ever seen. The Renegades aren’t even in the issue and yet, I didn’t find myself missing them. That is a power of a brilliant writer. While I do character about the Renegades, I did not miss them this issue because of being so mentally engrossed with the conflict within Harbinger Renegades # 5.  That is amazing. With sharp, detailed art and brilliantly developed characters, Harbinger Renegades #5 is your new gateway drug to the Vahalla that will come with both this storyline and future stories to come. One of the best single issues that Valiant Comics has ever produced is this one issue right here! Get it!