HARBINGER RENEGADE #1
Written by Rafer Roberts
Art by Raul Allen, Patricia Martin, Juan Jose Ryp, Frankie D’Armata, Dave Lanphear, Darick Robertson, Richard Clark, & Diego Rodriguez
Published by Valiant Comics
Release Date: November 16, 2016
Changing the world has consequences.
After foiling Toyo Harada’s plot to use psiots across the globe, the Renegades have gone their separate ways. In their wake grows a group willing to awaken the powers of potential psiots but with disastrous results. @X ends up coming across the NSA, threatening whatever normalcy he knows. He tries to recruit the former Renegades with little result besides the hero Faith. In the end one of their teammates makes a desperate plea to an old friend to help make things right.
Harbinger Renegade #1 is much more serious than I ever expected, though that makes sense in the context of the story. The Renegades helped save the world, but they find that their actions lead to other paths they didn’t expect. The fact that there are significant unintended consequences of a heroic crusade sounds true to life. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and this return of the Renegades explores how young people can lead the way to the future but also end up creating dire circumstances for others. The narrative of youth, conflict, and consequence is a helpful narrative choice which also lends to exploring the fallout that each of the characters experienced.
Raul Allen and Patricia Martin create beautifully graphic images within the first few pages of the issue outlining the history of the Renegades. I love the minimalistic choices of color and how they add emphasis to create the dynamic history of the main characters. Allen and Martin’s work is eye popping, which helps to engage the reader in this new series.
In Juan Jose Ryp and Frankie D’Armata’s prologue pages, we have a simultaneous dance between chaos and composure. Toyo’s attempt to take down his adversary in a beautiful Spanish home combines the elegance of classic sculptures with the carnage experienced by his agents before their demise. These visual elements mimic the conflict between Toyo and his foe through their differing demeanors and actions even within a few pages, providing a useful artistic parallel to this part of the story.
In the main pages of Harbinger Renegade #1, Darick Robertson, Richard Clark, and Diego Rodriguez create an effect similar to that of Ryp and D’Armata, in that many of the events in these pages feel relatively normal until they are undercut by people or actions that are devastating. When I think of this art, the word sinister comes to mind, as the panels are dense with ink but also holding emotions that belie the critical nature of each scenario. The team for these pages makes images which devolve from the characters’ normalcy after their conflict with Toyo into destruction and emotional appeals, underlining the fact that the Renegades are not all in a good place and there is no sign of their situation lightening.
Harbinger Renegade #1 is heavy. This is not a team comic that focuses on lighthearted compassion. Each of them are struggling to make sense of their lives as they are, as well as the places they find themselves in. From the looks of the first issue, this will be a dark series, so even the bright moments may still be tinged with shadow. I think it’s worth a shot if you want more context about the Harbingers, especially if you read Faith, though be prepared to face some of the difficulties of the human experience within these pages.
The Verdict: 8.5/10