THE HARBINGER #1/ Written by COLLIN KELLY & JACKSON LANZING/ Art by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ/ Colors by RICO RENZI/ Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU/ Published by VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT
Imagine waking up with the power of a god, hearing the thoughts of those around you and flying as easily as most people walk. Imagine not remembering who you are or anything of your past beyond one word – “Harbinger.” Imagine being recognized by random people on the street as one of the world’s most dangerous people and having no idea why.
This is the new reality of one teenage boy named Peter Stanchek, who awakens in a world where telepaths are isolated from the rest of society and he was apparently either a hero or a villain depending on who you ask. Either way, Peter may be the only hope left in the face of a new team of “heroes” who are killing innocent teens with psi-powers like his in the name of saving the world.
The Valiant Universe is one of the few blind spots in my generally excellent knowledge of comic book trivia, so I came into The Harbinger #1 completely blind, much like its protagonist. The script by Collin Kelley and Jackson Lanzing does a fantastic job of setting up the world and introducing us to our main character. While the amnesia hook is a tad cliché, it is effective, even if the background does seem to be somewhat derivative of Days of Future Past.
The artwork is similarly serviceable, if not particularly memorable. Robbi Rodgriguez’s sketchy style fits the story and subtly suggests a society in decay. This impression is enhanced by the colors of Rico Renzi, who sneaks neon hues into the background that evoke the spirit of Blade Runner 2049 and other dystopia with a high-tech gloss hiding a dark heart.
I can’t vouch for how well this continues the story of the original Harbinger comics. That being said, I found The Harbinger #1 to be an interesting and effective introduction to the concept. Superhero fans would do well to give this series a try.
The Harbinger #1 releases on October 27, 2021.