It seems like Peter Stanchek just arrived at the Harada institute, and he is already gone! Issue five saw the much-hyped showdown between Stanchek and Harada, the two most powerful Harbingers on the planet. And what a showdown it was! But before Stanchek and Harada can face off directly, Peter has to fight his way through Harada’s top lieutenants.
It was exciting to see Peter go up against people who had more experience than him. As adversary after adversary pointed out, he has much more power than any of them, they simply have more experience. Stanchek is able to defeat all of them through resourcefulness and a burning desire to never quit. However, when he finally gets to Harada he has to face someone who not only has more experience, but also someone who is just as powerful as him. In short, Stanchek is outclassed.
Joshua Dysart composed a remarkably wordy and intelligent issue considering it is more or less an extended fight scene. While the action may be fast-paced and destructive, the real damage comes in the words which are spat back and forth between Peter and his opponents. So much happens and is talked about that it is worth reading the book twice to make sure you have it all!
The art by Khari Evans hammers home the destructive effects of the battle. The Harada Institute/Harbinger Foundation used to be a gleaming piece of art and architecture. By the end of the issue it is a mass of detritus and rubble. Evans gives everything a jagged edge, leaving nothing untouched by the battle.
Harbinger continues to be the most difficult book to describe in the Valiant line. The closest I can come is to compare it to the first Matrix movie It is smart, action packed, and works on multiple levels. But there is more to Harbinger than that. There is a sense of desperation, a need and desire to fit in. And then there is the feeling of betrayal when the characters realize that they have been betrayed by the people who they thought were going to help them fit in better. Despite the fact that Harbinger is difficult to explain, one thing is clear: Harbinger is a fantastic book!
Harbinger #5 is available today.