A review by Scott Bachmann
Harbinger Wars #3 “Showdown” Review
I pulled this out of the review bag, because, why not? Oh, here’s why not. This is part 3 of a mini series with four different factions coming to kick each other’s butt in Vegas, and I don’t know any of them. Not a single one. So this review is going to be totally unfair to those who know these characters and their story.
That said, every comic is somebody’s first comic. So let’s give it spin anyways.
Let’s stat with the recap page. Not very informative, but I get the picture. Paramilitary super beings fighting over psiots – kids with powers. Lots of government gun types are involved, and body enhancements with super tech abound. So it’s Tomorrow People meets Weapon X. Got it.
(Yes I’m anxious for the remake of the ‘Tomorrow People’ on the CW. I loved that show. It was the Johnny Socko to Tom Baker’s Ultraman. 1 person out there understood that.)
Onto the story. First panel, I’m lost. Took me a few readings, then I got it. Psychic twins imperfectly communicating. Different word balloons of some kind would have helped, but it made sense once I figured it out. Then I see the full face of the twin Katherine. Odd face. Is it the art? Everyone else in the background is well drawn, so I assume it’s intentional. Figure out later it’s intentional. These are not perfection people, they are ordinary people, with imperfect faces and differing body types. The flyer Faith is heavyset without a single weight joke in the entire book. So this I’m liking.
Page 2 and we have our Weapon X stand in all broken and gory. I assume he will heal. All immortal mercenaries heal. Find out later, yup he does. That’s a trope I’m tired of. This I’m not liking.
Government types conspire and then we meet the next group. Man I wish they had name tags. However, everyone is visually distinct. 25 people in three pages and none of them look alike. Go art team!
Back to the brave girl asking for help from the scary and wounded super soldier. How many times have I seen this scene in comics? However, the art is sufficiently creepy, and the dialog great. This gets a pass for doing an old trope well.
A page of gloom foreshadowing and plot I can’t follow and we’re on to the next group, the H.A.R.D Corp. Old soldiers suiting up for one more run trope. But again, dialog is good. Another pass for doing an old scene well.
The next dozen pages are all four of the groups heading towards a collision course. Bits of character moments slip out amongst the layers and layers of backstory plot. Should be dull, but something’s happening here. It’s working. I feel the tension as they close in on each other. I’m starting to learn some of the characters, and care a bit. The clean art definitely helps.
O.k. We’re at the fuse lighting part. H.A.R.D Corps is dropping in, and I learn their abilities as they dive out of a plane. One at a time super powers down loaded via satellite, and it’s not pleasant to switch powers. One of them is dying from the implants that make it possible. I’m liking this. Lots of possibilities, lots of limits.
Lots of chess pieces moved around the board… and the fighting starts. Bullet to the head of a kid. Disturbing. Powerful. Had no idea what to expect as there hasn’t been any fighting yet, just shots of the aftermath of previous issues. 21 pages, no fighting and it starts with a soldier killing a kid. Given the story so far, I expected it to be a bit cold blooded, but this was ice cold. Not my kind of story, but it does wonders for the tension they’ve built up. They are not afraid of dropping characters. This gets a wait and see.
Last three pages, build up and a cliff hanger as a major player that was off recovering, wakes up, and clearly plans to get back in the game. Scene this before too, but it works. I want to know what happens. Never heard of any of these people and I want to read the next book.
The art team gets a round of applause. From color to layout, no complaints, and some genuine applause. There were times the pages went dark, mostly shadow, perfect for the settings, yet everything remained clear and distinct. Add a little more body language and emotion to the background characters and you’d have a perfect art team.
End result? I want to read more. I had some nit picks and complaints that were trivial, given how hard this was to pull off. Instead, huge props because I could follow everything, and knew why it was happening. Most events I have no clue what’s going and that’s when I’m a loyal fan.
This took talent.
Writer: Joshua Dysart
Story: Joshua Dysart @ Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Clayton Henry with Pere Perez
Colorist: Brian Reber
Letterist: Dave Lanphear
Cover Artist: Patrick Zircher, Trevor Hairsine, & Khari Evans
Scott Bachmann writes his own comics and novels over at Scottcomics.com