Harbinger Wars is a crossover event done right. My previous two reviews – Harbinger, Vol. 3; Bloodshot, Vol. 3 – all connect with Harbinger Wars in a succinct enough way that neither Marvel nor DC can ever hope to match. Both series were among the first in Valiant Entertainment’s 2012 rebirth, and as such have been heading towards a common endgame. And it’s an all out war. Harbinger Wars collects issues #1-4.
Many different factions, each with their own goals (and many unknowingly with the same goals), diverge from the get go, leading up to a massive convergence. To start, there’s the former P.R.S. assassin Bloodshot and a handful of activated psiot kids he rescues from P.R.S. (Project Rising Spirit). Then there’s another group of freed P.R.S. activated psiot kids named Generation Zero, led by the militant Cronus, on the run from Bloodshot, whom they still believe is the enemy. We have the Renegades, a rebelious team led by Peter Stanchek that we grew to love and hate in the Harbinger series, and their goal is to be the good guys for a change by helping out Generation Zero from the war that will soon ensue. Then there’s the Harbinger Foundation, led by the world’s most powerful psiot Toyo Harada who wishes to capture the released psiots and incorporate them in his Harbinger Foundation. When that’s not enough parties to keep track of, Valiant throws in a 5th – the H.A.R.D. Corps, mercenaries hired to eliminate all threat, child or no. Somehow, by the end of it all, you’ve still caught up with everyone.
Naturally this all leads to a big confrontation in Las Vegas, and it is a spectacle to behold. One of the crossover’s more frustrating, yet inventive ideas is that each of the teams in play are in a sense anti-heroes, meaning they are each fighting for their own definition of a better tomorrow, and are willing to take people out accordingly. (A case can be made that the H.A.R.D. Corps is just a big bunch of bad though). As Harbinger Wars continues we find this makes it really hard to choose sides. As a reader used to good vs. bad, this is a moral dilemma that the publisher puts you through that I’ve never scene before, and that’s got to take guts.
But I can’t help feeling a little let down that this doesn’t end up being a team up between Bloodshot and The Renegades, who are both unknowingly on the same side of the fight – they just never communicate that point to each other. One would think that with the kids of Generation Zero and Bloodshot’s crew finally getting back together, a ceasefire would commense so that they can take out the larger evil.
But wow. Even with some strange artist jumps, the story holds together better than most. As this is slated to be one of the films that Sony has signed on for, this makes me a very excited man. We’re in for a show. This does include very gruesome moments, and isn’t intended for all audiences. Reading this alongside Harbinger and Bloodshot was a feat and a half, but it isn’t necessary. Harbinger Wars holds up on it’s own, and takes center stage as the frontline of the series’ events.
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