By Joshua Dysart, Justin Jordan and Khari Evans
Harbinger #25 isn’t just a big issue for the series, it’s a big issue for the entire Valiant Universe. While X-O Manowar was the first book to come out after the re-launch, Harbinger is the premier book. It takes risks and kills off characters and has been consistently written well, (not to take anything away from X-O). So can Dysart and company deliver on an issue this big? Absolutely.
This issue had several different stories by several different writers, as many anniversary issues do. Joshua Dysart takes up most of the issue with a story about Harada and just how powerful he is. Throughout Dysart’s run on Harbinger, he has made Harada a very dangerous character, but in this story he really shows just how ruthless he is. Dysart has written Harada very well in the entire series and that trend continues here. He doesn’t hesitate to kill people to get what he wants, and that’s the scariest thing about him; other peoples’ lives have no meaning to him. Vivek Tiwary gives us a flashback story that spotlights Joe. This story is very good and we finally get some characterization on Joe, not that it matters all that much since he died long ago. The great thing about Tiwary’s story though is that we also get to see Peter through someone else’s eyes, someone who admires him. Dan Goldman also deserves a mention for having the most emotional piece in the book, which focuses on how Peter handles Joe’s death. Goldman writes a story that will actually make the reader a little upset and teary eyed as we are not used to seeing Peter so vulnerable. This was a very good collection of tales that highlighted several characters and gave the reader a little more perspective on the title going forward.
The story is handled by several different people, but the standout of the issue is Lewis LaRosa on Into Memory. His style and lines are just excellent on this short story and they really add to the reading experience. He gets extremely detailed to the point where the pimples jump off of Joe’s face. Clayton Henry does a great job on his short story Cold Brains as well. His art is usually fabulous and he was able to work his magic again. One of the most impressive things about Clayton is his smooth lines and crisp drawing style, which are on display in force here. Khari Evans also should get a mention too, he did most of the work on the book. Evans has a style similar to Clayton Henry’s, but it’s a bit more raw, which works to his advantage when small children are dismembering armed guards. Evans does a wonderful job this issue too, but there is so much good art, it’s hard to get it all out in one review.
Harbinger #25 does not disappoint. If you are not a fan of Toyo Harada, you will definitely dig the story about Joe or the fan fiction story written by Justin Jordan. There is something for everybody in this issue, so everybody should be able to walk away happy. The creative talent on this issue is essentially everyone on Valiant’s payroll, so you know it’s got to be good. If you’re a Valiant fan, this is a must read. If you’re not a Valiant fan, but a fan of good stories, this is a must read too.