“A Valiant Read” is a regular column in which we highlight some of the best jumping-on points for the Valiant Universe. Find out more.
A Valiant Read is back yet again for another dose of Valiant Comics goodness. This time around we will be taking a look at Harbinger Volume 1: Omega Rising! Written by Joshua Dysart (Unknown Soldier, B.R.P.D.) and art by Khari Evans (Carbon Grey, Immortal Iron Fist), we’ll dive into the first five issues of the 2012-2014 comic book series.
As usual, read on to find out all about this volume of Harbinger, what to read next, and much more.
What’s The Deal With Harbinger?
In many ways, Harbinger is Valiant’s answer to the X-Men. Although instead of mutants Valiant offers Psiots, which are like mutants in that they are people who discover latent powers, but Harbinger’s lean towards being more psychic. Without going into too much detail, the concept of Harbinger takes a lot of the X-Men elements and takes them in different directions.
While there is a large cast of characters, Harbinger focuses on teenager Peter Stanchek, an anti-authoritative with a short fuse and a lot of raw power. Because of this raw power, which he doesn’t understand, he has been on the run from shadowy organisations for much of his life. When he is taken in by Toyo Harada, the leader of one of the world’s largest multinational conglomerates, he learns what his powers mean and it sets him on a new course in life.
Harbinger is one of Valiant’s biggest franchises a few of the Harbinger characters have branched off into their own series, including Faith, Livewire, and Toyo Harada.
Written by Joshua Dysart. Pencilled by Khari Evans, Lewis LaRosa, Matthew Clark, and Jim Muniz. Inked by Khari Evans and Matt Ryan. Coloured by Ian Hannin and Moose Baumann. Lettered by Rob Steen.
It’s hard to discuss Harbinger without either repeating what I said in the previous section or going into spoiler territory. While on paper some of the elements of Harbinger sound similar to other stories and franchises out there, this Valiant series does a good job at taking them in directions wouldn’t expect. The most obvious are ideas that sound kind of like X-Men, but they are approached with more science fiction than superhero.
This collection gathers five issues instead of the usual four of the previously covered Valiant series. Harbinger needs it too as it has a lot more to establish and unpack than X-O Manowar or Bloodshot. Writer Joshua Dysart uses the extra space to introduce the large cast and the series’ concepts at a casual pace. This allows for this introductory arc to pack a lot in without overloading the reader with too much information.
What also makes Harbinger different is that it walks the line between solo and team book. With the extended cast of characters, Harbinger has the appeal of a team book, but at the same time, the focus is mostly on Peter. If team books are your jam then Harbinger will be up your alley.
It’s worth noting that Harbinger is the first comic covered in A Valiant Read to show its connective tissue with the wider Valiant Universe. While is still in its own corner of the universe, it does offer appearances of Bloodshot’s Project Rising Spirit that eagle-eyed readers will enjoy. (Don’t stress if you’re not familiar with Bloodshot as you can read it without knowing the connection.) While it’s only a small thing, it’s the first step in a much larger task of world-building.
A Valiant Track
Every edition, I pick a tune that matches the energy of the comic that is featured. In this edition’s track is Bullet With Butterfly Wings by The Smashing Pumpkins.
Picked for it’s rebellious angst, it’s a song that I could imagine Peter listening and relating to in many ways.
Do you know of any other songs which would suit this volume of Harbinger? Sound off in the comments below!
The V Awards
The Most Bubbly Award
With most of Harbinger’s characters being rather serious all the time, Faith is a ray sunshine in the series and a great palette cleanser. This geeky gal always has an aura of excitement surrounding her, which is reflected in a positive attitude and bubbly personality.
The Good Boy Award
Winner: For the talking dog who is more than he seems
That’s right, there’s a talking dog in one issue. Although, without spoiling anything, this dog is more than meets the eye.
Want to read more Harbinger? These are the trade paperbacks you will need to track down to complete the series.
Harbinger Volume 2: Renegades
Written by Joshua Dysart. Art by Phil Briones, Barry Kitson, Khari Evans, Pere Perez, and Matthew Clark.
Collects: Harbinger #6-10
Harbinger Volume 3: Harbinger Wars
Written by Joshua Dysart. Art by Khari Evans, Trevor Hairsine, Mico Suayan, and Pere Perez.
Collects: Harbinger #11-14, Harbinger #0
Check out a reading order for the full Harbinger Wars event.
Harbinger Volume 4: Perfect Day
Written by Joshua Dysart. Art by Barry Kitson, Clayton Henry, and Riley Rossmo.
Collects: Harbinger #15-19
Harbinger Volume 5: Death of a Renegade
Written by Joshua Dysart, Vivek J. Tiwary, Justin Jordan, and Dan Goldman. Art by Clayton Henry, Khari Evans, Barry Kitson, Lucy Knisley, Lewis LaRosa, and Rafer Roberts.
Collects: Harbinger #20-25
Harbinger Volume 6: Omegas
Written by Joshua Dysart. Art by Rafa Sandoval, Khari Evans, Stephen Segovia, Lewis LaRosa, and Mico Suayan.
Collects: Harbinger: Omegas #1-3, Harbinger: Bleeding Monk #0.
Join me in two weeks when I explore the first volume of Archer & Armstrong!