Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pull List Review: Harbinger #1

Harbinger #1 did everything you want a first issue to do. It established a cast of characters who are easily distinguishable and all fully-realized, built a unique yet familiar world in which to tell its story, and introduced in an understandable and intriguing way some of its higher concepts. While the events of this opening chapter are perhaps a tad subdued, the story potential it creates is massive.

Joshua Dysart has an excellent main character in Peter, who does his best to come across as apathetic but who obviously cares and feels very deeply about his situation. A good friend to a fault, and something of a pathetically hopeless romantic, Peter makes many mistakes common for a man his age: returning home while on the run, sticking with a friend who's no good for him, chasing desperately and stubbornly after the wrong girl. But because of his incredible powers and power level, the consequences of these mistakes are amplified a hundredfold. This is what brings Peter to such an extreme moment in his life, a point of no return, a place where Harada finally feels ready to assist Peter in dealing with his powers and enemies. It's a logical starting point for the series, and it sets Peter up to be an extremely compelling and relatable hero.

Khari Evans' artwork is gorgeous right out of the gate, but fully won me over a few pages in when we see the Bleeding Monk. It remains impressive all the way to the end, especially when it comes to the characters' emotions. Peter's levels of aggravation and desperation vary scene-to-scene, and his face and body language both do a lot to express that. Then there is Harada, who as a child and adult exudes a self-assured confidence and power. Lastly, Mr. Tull, who we didn't see a great deal of but who left a lasting impression of sadness, insanity, and perhaps despair with his sunken, skeletal features and deadened eyes. These are people who you can size up immediately, which only adds to an already clear and attention-grabbing narrative.

Finally, there is the scene where Harada actually reaches out to Peter and we get some surrealism and even a moment of true horror, and Evans nails those with the same skill and believability as the more grounded moments. All told, an excellent debut cover to cover. Nothing that really blew my mind, but nothing that disappointed in the slightest. It had heavy competition, but was, overall, the best comicbook I read this week.

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