Hey, hey. This is D.C. back for throwdown #2 tonight on a book I completed a couple of weeks ago, and wanted to share:
Valiant’s Harbinger Wars is a crossover event between Bloodshot and Harbinger. In this event, rogue experiment Bloodshot leads a group of formerly-captive psiot children to their friends, who are holding a Las Vegas hotel hostage in true terrorist fashion. At the same time, omega-level psiot Toyo Harada rallies his Harbinger Foundation to take the psiot children for himself. To complicate matters further, Peter Stanchek leads his Renegades to the same location to prevent Harada from obtaining the children. All three groups converge with explosive results.
For those of you who have not read before this event, I highly recommend picking up Bloodshot and Harbinger. Both were exciting reads that lead up to this point.
Harbinger Wars kept me on the edge of my seat. The dramatic irony was strong and did not help to quell my excitement and anticipation. I knew the three factions were going to meet with the terrorists in Vegas, but when a fourth group gets introduced later, I could only think, “Holy s***! How crazier can this get?!” The creative teams did a great job shedding light on all five groups without making the story feel muddied. Some segments featured the different factions quickly, but it was all extremely effective.
A lot of the time I felt angry when it became clear that both Bloodshot and the Renegades were being manipulated, and not by Toyo Harada. The children are understandably hardened, but I only hoped the ones pulling the strings would get theirs in the end.
Even before that, I was both shocked and pleased at the brief battle between Bloodshot and Harada. With Harada’s vast psionic abilities, I never expected Bloodshot to hold his own, even if it wasn’t of his own accord. I love Harada as a villain, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching that cocky bastard get his butt handed to him. You really see how resourceful Bloodshot is, and even Harada is caught off guard.
Bloodshot’s battle with Peter Stanchek was also a treat. It was more primal and wild, which is no problem, knowing Peter. The best part was that this misunderstanding between the two did not get resolved. They simply battled until one gave out. It was great to see the Renegades go to war, and then realize that they are clearly in over their heads.
Casualties abound in Harbinger Wars, and they are both unpleasant and brutal. That, however, is the nature of war, and the entire creative team makes that known. The fates of everyone left me hungry for more, hopeful, elated, and despondent.
The art varies, but that is understandable in crossover. The addition of Rai’s Clayton Crain added on a special edge that I get only from his art.
By the end of Harbinger Wars, I was left confused as to the fate of Bloodshot. What happened to him? Did he survive? How did he survive? His own tie-ins left his fate unrevealed, which did not go well when the Renegades and Harbinger Foundation had some resolution. If anything, Bloodshot’s companion had a resolution of her own.
Harbinger Wars is an exciting crossover event that does well to self-contain within the respect books, while having consequences for the Valiant Universe as a whole. The extensive cast gets highlighted well with good art from all artists. The story is well-paced, dynamic, and a little difficult to take at times. More than anything, the ending of Harbinger Wars left me with a sour feeling. You root for a winner, but the ending proved that even heroes can lose.
And I mean that in a good way.