Harbinger Renegade #0
Picking up from last issue’s events, the road to the Second Harbinger War is becoming darker and darker. Using the Renegade’s intel, Major Charlie “Gunslinger” Palmer and H.A.R.D. C.O.R.P.S. make a final raid against Solomon. But when they unleash the horror that is the Stormbringer, not everyone will make it out alive! What kind of horrors will await the Renegades and the Valiant Universe as a whole?
Popular in the 90’s, the original concept of zero issues would present the events preceding the first issue. In recent years, they have more or less taken the position of the comics annual. Of all today’s major publishers, Valiant probably has the highest ratio of zero issues within their titles. Each is designed to be a jumping-on point for new fans, to introduce the origins of the protagonists and reintroduce all the important plot points. Unfortunately, most fans seem to have the impression these issues are really not that important. In fact, Harbinger Renegade #0 is absolutely essential for the impending Harbinger Wars II.
Fans of the first Bloodshot volume will no doubt remember Joshua Dysart and Mike Costa’s versions of the H.A.R.D. C.O.R.P.S., and will be excited to see them not entirely forgotten, but saddened to see their characterization has not been completely held intact. Major Charlie “Gunslinger” Palmer is the only character worth reading, while the rest of the cast is treated more or less as cannon fodder for the wrath of Alpha, the Stormbringer. I’ve previously stated that Rafer Roberts is at his best when he goes for the disgusting and brutal, and the action is the best part of the issue, just as over the top as it should be. You may notice the lack of military coordination or discipline that an organization like H.A.R.D. C.O.R.P.S. realistically should have. Honestly, this could also be the fact that I’ve read the entirety of G.I. Joe by Larry Hama, so I find this a minor complaint. All in all, it’s good to see the H.A.R.D. C.O.R.P.S. have their own issue, but it does lack the spark that most Valiant comics have.
The comics industry should formally recognize Juan José Ryp as the gold standard for monsters ripping through people. His bloody, violent artwork conveys the horror and pain with ease. Andrew Dalhouse brings his bright colors to the pages, perfectly complementing the exciting art.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this comic is summed up by the covers. Clayton Henry and other incredible artists make beautiful pieces that attract any fan, but the story on the inside does not reflect the covers.
Harbinger Renegade, as a title, has, frankly, been an uneven mess. Originally advertised as a series following Peter Stanchek’s ragtag crew of psiots, Valiant dropped the “S” in “Renegades”, intending the comic would follow Solomon’s villainous quest. Yet, Solomon has not had a single issue dedicated entirely to him and remains one of Valiant’s most underdeveloped villains. I have read all nine issues; only six focused on the Renegades themselves, two on the H.A.R.D. C.O.R.P.S., and one oddly placed issue showed the origin of the Stormbreaker. A lack of direction seems to be the biggest problem. I understand the need for a series leading into the Second Harbinger Wars, but that series needs to build the hype, instead of limping to the finish line.
Harbinger Renegade #0 is a good H.A.R.D. C.O.R.P.S. issue that you should pick up just to be caught up on the story, but otherwise is not an important part of any Harbinger fan’s collection. Still, Harbinger Wars II is on the way, and our patience shall be rewarded!
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