By Matt Kindt, Eric Heisserer, Doug Braithwaite, Diego Rodriguez, Raul Allen, Patricia Martin
Harbinger Wars 2 #0 is arriving in the mailboxes of excited fans. Those fortunate enough to receive the book are in for a treat.
Harkening back to a 90’s era Valiant promo, Harbinger Wars 2 #0 was only available via a limited-time mail-away program. Only fans who cut coupons out of Harbinger Renegade books and sent them in (along with a reasonable fee) will receive the book.
This #0 issue is a prelude to the major Harbinger Wars 2 event that begins in May. The main story focuses on an event that takes place sometime after the death of Gen Zero in Rook. There’s an added bonus of a short story featuring Secret Weapons’ The Willows.
Since this book has a certain level of exclusivity in attaining it, it primarily serves to engage the reader and enrich their experience without being a stumbling block to those who may have missed out on it.
In other words, while it may be coveted by collectors, it is not necessary for understanding and enjoying the upcoming Harbinger Wars 2. That said, you still should read it.
The main story is written by Matt Kindt with art by Doug Braithwaite and colors by Diego Rodriguez. It’s an excellent foundation piece that fills in gaps of what Peter Stanchek and his adversaries, the H.A.R.D. Corps, have been doing since we last saw them in the pages of Renegade. More than anything, the story relates the high stakes for both sides in a palpable way. Kindt gives some balance to the opposing sides, acknowledging there is some legitimacy to fears regarding psiots while showing the flip side of the psiots’ fight to survive, reminding us that there is more than one side to any story.
The story builds on the premise set up in Renegade that Peter is activating and recruiting psiots. It also explores the actions of H.A.R.D. Corps, their immense level of dedication, and the extreme measures they are willing to take in their war against psiots. To a degree, the overarching story of zealotry and fear of differences is a reflection of our society. Each group has their point of view, whether that be to kill all psiots for their potential to harm, or to hold power over humans, à la Harada. The Renegades and the H.A.R.D. Corps are key players, yet ultimately they are pawns to higher powers.
It’s worth noting here that there are several first appearances in this story. All are strong additions to the stable of characters. Hopefully this won’t be the last that we see of them.
Artist Braithwaite and colorist Rodriguez team up for the main story. Braithwaite’s storytelling is strong. Aspects of this story rely heavily on the actors to convey emotion and intention. Braithwaite shines in this regard, especially within the panels with no dialogue. He has created a moving piece that will affect the reader. Rodriguez’s colors enhance the mood greatly. Subdued, darkened rooms, warm golden sunlight, and gray-toned despair are examples of how the coloring affects the story. Like Braithwaite’s other work for Valiant, there is no obvious inking. Subsequently, it appears as if Rodriguez has colored directly over the pencils, using a darker shade of his color to digitally ink Braithwaite’s lines. This softens the overall look, which serves to reinforce the concept of the story being told through recall.
Having Braithwaite pencil this story serves as a mental link to the earlier Imperium title which he illustrated. That particular series focused on Harada after the fall; here we are seeing yet another side of the fall.
The bonus short story is written by Eric Heisserer with art by Raul Allen and Patricia Martin. Anyone familiar with the Secret Weapons mini or the #0 issue featuring Nikki Finch knows how excellent his character building and portrayals are. This piece gives an insider viewpoint into the raid at The Willows, and it introduces us to yet another new character, Lucia. It’s compelling and will leave you wanting to know what happened next. Artist Raul Allen and colorist Patricia Martin, the team which created Secret Weapons’ signature look, team up again for this short story. As with the miniseries, this piece is well done, drawing the eye through the panels and treating the reader to camera angles and viewpoints that deepen the intended meaning of the scene.
Harbinger Wars 2 #0 provides a strong background and compelling story that readers are sure to enjoy. One of the best accomplishments of this book is how it demonstrates how the Valiant Universe interacts. What happened in Generation Zero impacted Harbinger Renegade and Secret Weapons. Now we are seeing how all these different events are setting things in motion to lead up into Harbinger Wars 2.