By Rafer Roberts, Darick Robertson, Richard Clark, Diego Rodriguez, Brian Reber, Juan Jose Ryp, Frankie D’Armata
Things just got real. Harbinger Renegade #3 brings the pain as Solomon makes his first move against the former team of Kris, Faith, Torque, and Peter.
Renegade, penned by Rafer Roberts, picks up the story of Harbinger’s Renegade team in the aftermath of the psiot revelation. Some time has gone by since the group leaked Toyo Harada’s Harbinger files, indelibly changing the world. The title of this book doesn’t refer to the original crew, but to yet another renegade from Harada’s Harbinger Foundation: Alexander Solomon.
Solomon is the driving force behind the story. The first two books in this series set up several threads – Solomon, a “grass roots” group trying to recruit and activate potential psiots, and the former Renegade teammates as they rebuilt or redirected their lives. These threads are coalescing into one, and Solomon is the man behind the curtain.
Solomon is a bit of a wild card for readers. Roberts has been teasing out his back story in prologues in each of the books thus far. We know he was once an advisor to Harada, and that he himself is a psiot. Solomon has the ability to make predictions based on input, serving as a human computer of sorts. But his conclusions are only as good as his data. He cannot see the future, nor can he know for certain what effect his actions will ultimately have. The prologue in this book highlights these failings, and the amusing thing is that Solomon can’t see it – even when it’s literally hanging over his head. The imagery drives this lesson home while Harada condemns Solomon once again. The prologues have been enlightening, and it appears that they are where Roberts is seeding concepts that may prove pivotal to the overarching story. There’s a great one liner that Harada offers to Solomon as to why he isn’t acting on Solomon’s recommendations. This may prove to be the key to the difference in the two men’s philosophies as well as the impetus for Solomon’s renegade status.
But that’s just the prologue. The rest of the story involves the Renegades, old and new. Up until now, they’ve been a fractured unit, each member going their own way. Roberts shows them dealing with the ramifications of their actions in different ways. Torque shrugs off moral responsibilities, embracing a self-centered and vapid lifestyle; Faith, along with help from Ax, continues to fight the good fight; Kris struggles to bear the unexpected weight of their actions; Pete left the world far behind in a quest for inner peace. This separation couldn’t last forever, though, especially with Solomon forcing their hand.
Consider this the one spoiler for the book: it finally happened. The surviving original Renegades, all in the same place.
Like a scene playing out from a Gloria Gaynor song: Peter’s back from outer space, and Kris walked in to find him here with that sad look upon his face. She’s spent many night thinking how he did her wrong and feeling sorry for herself…
Roberts does a good job on the Renegades’ characterizations, especially Torque. Longtime fans should enjoy the flip banter inbetween the serious moments. After the setup of the first two books, Roberts considerably ups the ante on the drama, giving readers action and the beginnings of the real heart of this story.
As with the previous books, two different art teams handle the prologue and the main body of the story. The prologue is illustrated by Juan Jose Ryp, who excels at depicting the opposing spectrums of horror and beauty, and is colored by Frankie D’Armata. Penciler Darick Robertson illustrates the main story with inks by Richard Clark and colors by Diego Rodriguez and Brian Reber. Robertson has a distinct, edgy style that lends itself well to a story about fringe young adults. Clark’s bold inks and the low chroma colors give the artwork a darker feel that matches the story’s tone. The proportions in a few scenes featuring Tamara are off-putting, and there are some inconsistencies in the rendering that suggests rushed deadlines. But Robertson also creates some striking scenes, and his use of varying perspectives keeps even passive scenes dynamic.
Harbinger Renegade #3 is the strongest offering yet from this new title. The setups of the earlier two is starting to pay off for readers. Roberts is playing his cards close to the chest, not yet revealing what will be the crux behind the upcoming Harbinger Wars II, but you can bet Solomon will be in the mix.