Harbinger #16 (Valiant)

Harb16

Rating: 4.5/5 – Wait for it….the last page turns this story on it’s ear.

Growing up, I was a big fan of the X-Men. Back in the mid to late 1980’s it had a dynamic and ever changing cast and plots that would develop over years. The issues that I’d love the most were the ones that took a break from the overall narrative and focused on the characters playing baseball or Kitty Pryde reading a bedtime story to Magik.

In today’s world of decompressed storytelling and writing for the trade, these old style stories have become much harder to find. Harbinger #16 delivers a really great tribute to the stories of old.  The issue picks up immediately after the shocking conclusion of the last issue. Writer Joshua Dysart does an excellent job following on from that conclusion that left us with a “What will happen now??”

In this issue we visit Torque’s version of the Asgardian  Valhalla – Torquehalla.  Dysart figures out a way for the entire team to also visit Torquehalla and they are transformed into various fantasy based characters in the process. Hilarity ensues.

Dysart did an excellent job of mixing the humor with a sense of intrigue and fun. The art team of Barry Kitson, Mark Pennington, and Brian Level blended their styles beautifully and created a wonderful vibrant world.  Dysart’s story structure and pace was effective in building up to yet another pivotal last page reveal. The reveal itself was handled beautifully with lasting emotional impact and long term story effects.

You don’t really need to have read the previous issues of the series to enjoy this, but if you can find the trades, they are well worth your investment. The series has been stellar from the start and having never read anything from Valiant during their previous incarnation, I am glad this series was recommended to me.

If you love the team dynamic of the X-Men series, you will love Harbinger. This comic is wonderful, inventive and fun. It is one of the best new series being published today and is on the top of my stack. Joshua Dysart has squarely placed himself as a writer to keep your eye on and I can’t wait for the next issue.

Reviewed by: Hank Johnson – hank@comicspectrum.com
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