One of Valiant’s first titles reaches a landmark issue (and comes to an end) while another keeps an event rolling. How were they, though? Find out below.
Written by Josh Dysart, Vivek Tiwary, Justin Jordan, Dan Goldman and Lucy Knisley
Illustrated by Khari Evans, Lewis Larosa, Rafer Roberts, Clayton Henry and Lucy Knisley
For such a huge issue, this one is a bit all over the place. Part of that is by design, as there are five stories told within of varying length, and with that you get variable quality. For the most part, they’re pretty damn good – Lucy Knisley’s ode to Faith’s fandom is one of the most fantastic moments in comics this week, for example – but the biggest problem with #25 is that the main story is maybe the weakest element of the giant-sized issue.
While I like where Dysart and Evans leave things at the end of chapter 1, with Harada revealed as a villain of true power and Peter lost and maybe humanity’s last great hope, the story reads a little uneven because of its laser focus on Harada for the majority of the issue. Granted, that makes sense a bit, as this book is really the story of a psionic yin and yang in the form of Harada and Peter, and you could make an argument that Toyo is as much a co-lead as he is the villain. But while reading it, it’s hard not to feel like we’re waiting for another shoe to drop that never actually comes. That’s at least partially my expectations as a reader impacting the experience, as in terms of structure, script and art, this is a very fine comic, and one that is aided by a bevy of gifted artists in Evans, Knisley, Henry and more.
But it’s hard not to find that the heart of this series is mostly found in the stories of Tiwary and Larosa, Knisley, and Goldman and Henry. Those are the stories that felt like it struck to the core of the book more than anything else, highlighting what makes “Harbinger” a book that is on occasion truly special. Tiwary’s handling of a tragic subject, Knisley’s levity, and Goldman and Henry’s emotive power are all things we come to expect, and we find in spades here.
All in all, “Harbinger” #25 is an entertaining ride that ably sets up what is next, but for me, it felt like there was something missing. For all the effectiveness found in some of the short stories, namely Knisley’s, the main story was a solid if unspectacular one that didn’t quite reach the expectations tied to an anniversary issue.
Final Verdict: 7.0 – it could have been a homer, but instead is more of a nice line drive single
Written by Matt Kindt
Illustrated by Stephen Segovia
This issue is a tie-in to the current Armor Hunters event, and more so than any tie-in so far, this really feels like one. While there are certainly good elements to this comic, it’s mostly filler, and filler that fills in the dots of elements that feel mostly unnecessary save for one.
It’s interesting that the part that ostensibly matters – Livewire figuring out she is human or not after Dr. Silk implied heavily that she was an alien – is the part of the story that feels the most shoehorned, and in the process, feels the weakest. In this section, Stephen Segovia’s heavy inks add a darkness to the scene that weigh down the story, and the mechanics behind what is going on feel like a big miss by Kindt and the team who developed the Armor Hunters story narrative as a whole.
In other parts of the story, there are some standout moments to be found. In the brightness of Ninjak’s flashback, Segovia’s art stands out, and Brian Reber’s colors give it a warm, inviting feel. It’s a great little segment that feeds perfectly into Ninjak’s actions within this issue, and do a fantastic job of showing Ninjak’s character and capabilities quite well. I have to admit, the fact that Ninjak as a character doesn’t have his own book is starting to feel like a crime, as he is the standout in every issue he appears in for me.
Gilad’s sections also work better, and the little segment with MI6 lead Neville Alcott helps put a face to the destruction, and some added motivation. Overall though, this is a bit of a disjointed issue with occasionally wonky art from Segovia that doesn’t help matters. While Ninjak is never not cool and he really proves it here, this mostly felt like all filler, no killer, and the type of tie-in that is designed to be skipped.
Final Verdict: 5.0 – a tie-in lacking in true narrative weight