This is no slight to the other fantastic titles being created at Valiant. It simply boils down to this: I’ve not been so excited reading an issue of comics like Harbinger #13 in a long time. Let me emphasize this again – a long time! I know this came out last week, but this was so good that I had to write it up anyways.
Right now, I should be packing for a trip I’m leaving on tomorrow morning. Instead, I’m up late writing this because Dysart, Evans, and Hairsine’s greatness on Harbinger #13 simply cannot be denied or delayed. Let me start with the writing.
I’ve been an unabashed fan of Dysart’s for awhile now. There have been many great stories penned by him that have captured my attention and sucked me in. Reading Harbinger #13 made the outside world disappear for 20 minutes. No one could get through to me because this issue engaged me on so many levels. It’s easily my favorite issue of anything written by Dysart.
The non-linear narrative running through the issue was done masterfully with a seamless threading that felt completely tied together. You get some fascinating glimpses into a younger Harada while the story continually propels itself into a tight weaving spiral that will suck the past, present, and possibly future into one transit point.
Then Dysart’s strong dialogue and characterization’s come in hard charging with some of his most natural and easy flowing dialogue of the series. I believe he has fully tapped into each character’s voice, especially Flamingo. He gives her a really great scene that speaks volumes about what he can do with her character. He also keeps knocking it out of the park with Faith.
Finally, it’s the tension of the plot that keeps the pages turning. Never has a comic book been able to capture the slowdive, train wreck of a plan about to spiral completely out of control when the teams prepares to take on Bloodshot. You absolutely know things won’t go as planned by the team, but can’t help but read on because of the way Dysart shows things going wrong. I will simply throw it out there and say a new bar for superhero storytelling has been set. You heard it heard first.
Regarding the art, whoever decided to let Khari Evans and Trevor Hairsine draw an issue of Harbinger together should be sent a bottle of Cristal because they rocked the hell out of the art on this issue. Equal to Dysart’s storytelling on every level, the art flows like a reel of film.
Ian Hannin’s colors make every panel pop off the page as the action, sequencing of panels, and line work explode into life. Just look at the entrance of Bloodshot and the end sequence of the issue with Harada and Hunter to see sequential art at its most vivid and lively possibilities.
Typically, we rate on a scale of 1-5 stars. Harbinger #13 is off the scale. In honor of the 8-bit cover variant, I give this a 1up too. If you haven’t already been reading Harbinger, go get it today. Seriously.