“The best weapon against an enemy is another enemy…”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
When people think about Valiant Entertainment, Harbinger is one of the first titles that comes to mind. For more than 25 years Harbinger has stood as the cornerstone intellectual property that the Valiant Universe is built upon.
Valiant founder and writer Jim Shooter first introduced “The Harbinger Foundation” (and Toyo Harada) in Solar, Man of the Atom #3 released in November of 1991. Two months later (January of 1992), Harbinger #1 was released.
Harbinger #1 was released with a low (at the time) print run of 48,000 copies. Wizard Magazine #10 listed Harbinger #1 at No. 9 on their monthly “Top 10” list for May of 1992. The following month in Wizard Magazine #11 (June 1992), Harbinger #1 moved up to the No. 8 spot on that same list, before spending the next four months in the No. 1 spot (Wizard Magazine #12, #13, #14, and #15).
Harbinger #1 was listed numerous times in other “Top 10” lists as well, including “The Ten Most Important Comic Books of the 1990s” (source: 2006 The Sequart Organization) and “The Top 10 Comic Books of the 1990s” (source: 2014 The Top Lister).
Harbinger #1 featured the first appearance of “The Renegades” Peter, Kris, Faith, Charlene and Torque.
The series ran for 41 consecutive issue until June of 1995, and also included two (Blue and Pink) versions of a Harbinger #0, as well as two side stories called Harbinger Files #1 and #2 to complete the run.
In June of 2012, Valiant Entertainment re-launched Harbinger as one of their flagship titles which ran for 25 consecutive issues, and included several related side stories, crossover events, and a Harbinger #0 issue. This was immediately followed by Harbingers: Omegas, and Imperium (which is without question, a Harbinger series in everything but name).
The latest release is Harbinger: Renegade #0, which takes place some years before the events currently in-progress within the main story line (though it could not have been too many years before, as several characters involved were not active in the Valiant Universe until late 2013 to early 2014). Roberts’s writing works well here, and matches the artistic feel on each page as the he tells the story. There is a clear story building process in play here, one that commenced with Harbinger: Renegade #6 that will likely come to a climax with Harbinger Wars 2 #0 which is set to release in December of 2017. The story’s premise, background, and setting are certainly interesting, and the action is chaotic and violent.
Harbinger: Renegade #0 features artwork by Juan Jose Ryp (who penciled Harbinger: Renegade #6 and the prologue in Harbinger: Renegade #1 and Harbinger: Renegade #2), which is a visual upgrade from Robertson’s work on the title which has sometime been criticized as being inconsistent since Harbinger: Renegade #1. Ryp is consistent with all proportions, perspective, detail from start to finish. If you are a fan of Ryp’s detailed comic art (as seen in Britannia, Britannia: We Who Are About to Die, and Book of Death: Legends of the Geomancer), then you will appreciate the extra effort and love he places into each panel and page.
Colorist Andrew Dalhouse, himself an accomplished artist with strong talent and an impressive portfolio, does a phenomenal job enhancing Ryp’s work, and bring each page to life Dalhouse provides directional lighting, shadows, color gradients, and background textures as well as vibrant explosions of red, green, and blue energy.
Harbinger: Renegade #0 is an excellent read and enjoyable visual experience, coupled with an interesting story overflowing with action. It is one of the better issues of Harbinger: Renegade, and completely worth your time.