Off the shelf: Harbinger #25

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Image: Valiant

(Note: I received a free copy of this comic from creator Vivek J. Tiwary.)

Story: Think Misfits with a dash of X-Men & Babylon 5‘s Psi Corps. Peter Stanchek is a kid with psionic abilities that looked to Toyo Harada for guidance. Bad move: Harada is a power mad loon with the usual “must control the world” agenda Harada builds through his Harbinger Foundation. Peter has banded together with other teens with similar skills…but so far even their successes are of the two-steps-back variety.

Thoughts: I’m iffy on superhero stories, unless they involve snark or mythology. The Harbinger series has neither, but the world building here is impressive. Being as this is my first dip into the storyline, I’m pretty lost; though the basics are clear, the sub-plots and character tics are lost on me.

What hits home is Barry Kitson’s gorgeous two-page spread at the end of the issue, and the one-page “sizzle reel” on the inside cover by Joshua Dysart, Khari Evans and Brian Reber. All I needed know, beautifully drawn and simply described. “Into Memory” by Vivek Tiwary (The Fifth Beatle) has the same type of groovy color focus found in Beatle, but this time it’s artist Lewis LaRosa doing the art. It’s beautiful and touching, but again, without knowing the back story? I stared at the last panel hoping I’d gotten the gist, but figuring I hadn’t. “Fan Fiction” by Justin Jordan and Rafer Roberts is a hoot, and I liked the way he pictured the teen heroes’ reactions to what’s on the interwebs.

Nutshell: #25‘s “Anniversary Celebration” feels like more of a love-letter to their fans rather than a jump-in point for newbies, with eight different sections instead of focusing on story arc continuation . (Granted, as this is my first look, this series may do this every issue. But I hope not; this format is fun as a one-off  but it’d definitely grate if I wanted story progression.) Some great, fun moments, but that’s it for this newbie.

Subscribe or Shelve?: Even though Harbinger looks like the winds of all-out war are blowin’ – the series spins off into Harbinger: Omegas next month – I’m not chomping at the bit. The characters are detailed just enough, yet I’m not connecting with them. Perhaps it’s because so much was crammed into a single issue. I would read it again if it was available, to see if the story would grow on me. But I’m not sure it’s currently my cup of tea.

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