By: Joshua Dysart, Duane Swierczynski (Writers), Clayton Henry, Clayton Crain, Mico Suayan (Artists), Brian Reber (Colorist)
The Story: Project Rising Spirit is coping with the losses that resulted with Bloodshot removal of several of their psiot children, while Peter Stanchek is being prepared for his role in the upcoming conflict concerning those psiot children.
The Review: There are many types of event comics. There are those that grow naturally from a story, yet are much too big to just encompass their respective titles and there are those that are just big concepts that encompass the larger universe and that cannot be tattered to a single book to be told effectively. This may seem like a simplistic way to view the juggernauts that are event comics, but it is effective nonetheless. Valiant comics very first event, that is also a huge crossover, symbolizing the unification of their still building universe, is a little bit of both. Harbinger Wars grows from the storylines found in both Bloodshot and Harbinger, yet also entails a concept that is too large to be just told in any of these titles respectively.
Here, we see elements from both of these comics brought together in a rather effective ways, as we see the effect and use of the Harbingers, also known as psiots, or in a multitude of other nicknames along the larger Valiant universe. The whole event begins with Project Rising Spirit and their view on just what the recent assault of Bloodshot on their facility entails for them (a storyline seen in Bloodshot that was concluded in issue 9). Here, we see just what kind of use P.R.S had for those kids and what kind of life they lived before Bloodshot went and freed them, as we get to see just what Toyo Harada, a man that is in search of Harbingers and that believes they could make the world a better place, wants out of them. This effectively brings two incredibly important elements from both Harbinger and Bloodshot together in a way that makes a lot of sense. We even get to see other elements from Harbinger like the bleeding monk and the Harada corporation meshing together with the others in a way that radiates something that people are looking for in event comics: importance. It is indeed something that seems to be everywhere in this comics, as it seems that the building plotlines all get merged together in Harbinger Wars, making this a must-read for those who likes the Valiant universe.
As important it is, however, there’s not much happening here, unfortunately. Those who reads Bloodshot and Harbinger knows a lot of this information already, making this a bit redundant. While there is a lot of action in most of the pages and there is a good chunk of exposition filling us in on the stakes and the players here, most of it serves the greater purpose of placing the pieces together and setting the board for the actual main event. It makes for a rather unexciting comic altogether, albeit it is not thoroughly satisfying. Perhaps with all that said and done, we can get to the more exciting part, but it is too early to tell now.
What can easily be said, however, is the fact that there is a little bit of a problem on the artistic side, which can be summarized very simply: there are way too many cooks in the kitchen. We have three artists here, some with styles that do not necessarily mesh together in a satisfying way. We have Clayton Henry more energetic and expressive art in some pages, which are preceded by Clayton Crain moodier and atmospheric art, clashing a little bit with their vastly different tone. None of their pages suffer from any lack of skills or talent, but it just does not mesh together really well. Someone who deserves special mention for doing just that, though, would be Brian Reber who manages to adapt his coloring skills to both styles without making any error. He is moody when he needs to be and energetic the moment after.
The Conclusion: This book mixes various elements from both Harbinger and Bloodshot to great effect, although it does so without much excitement. It may have a little bit of trouble on the art side of the equation with two styles that don’t mesh well together and the plot seems to be starting rather slowly, but we can still see the sheer potential behind the comic when we see all the pieces on display here.