Indie Comic Review: Harbinger #8

HAR_008_CVRPeter Stanchek and his merry band of Harbinger misfits continue on their cross-country trip to find allies in their fight against Toyo Harada.  It is about has cliche as one can get, but in the hands of Joshua Dysart this becomes an entertaining and exciting issue of Harbinger.

One of the things that never really worked for me with Harbinger (back in the 90′s) was just how goofy and lame all the characters seemed to be.  They were practically parodies of comic characters.  They were tough and powerful, but so socially awkward, even an awkward person like me had a difficult time relating to them.   Honestly, it was one of the reasons I was dreading reading this arc of Harbinger, since it was time for Dysart to start adding to the cast.

But there was a small scene in this issue which put it all in perspective for me.  Harada visits Amanda McKee, his former Number One who is now a prisoner in exile after she betrayed Harada and let Stanchek escape.  Harada digs deep into her mind to try to figure out Stanchek’s next more.  And that is where McKee explains so simply, so succinctly why the Harbinger kids are so dorky, so lame, so different than any other comic characters.  McKee explains that “He’ll go after the losers…The ones you have the least regard for…He’ll look for the weakest…In the hopes that he can give them strength.”  The kids Stanchek is seeking out are the ones who are overlooked, castoff, disregarded, the ones who no one wants.  But they are also the ones with the most potential within themselves.

Variant cover by Jeff Lemire

Variant cover by Jeff Lemire

In that one scene, with that one bit of dialogue, Dysart clearly reveals that Harada and Stanchek are just opposite sides of the same coin.  For Harada, a psiot should use his or her powers to activate others to serve Harada and his goal for a unified world under him.  For Peter Stanchek, the psiot should uses his or her powers to activate others who can serve as his soldiers in his fight against Harada.  They both wish to use the newly activated people as their soldiers.

The past two issues have done a great job pairing up artists with the characters being introduced.  Last issue saw Barry Kitson introduce the sexy bombshell, Flamingo.  Kitson is known for his sleek lines and attractive women, so it was a natural choice to put him on that issue.

For this issue, Lee Garbett jumps over to Harbinger from X-O Manowar.  It is great to see his square-jawed take on the newest member of Stanchek’s crew, Torque.  He was the right choice for this issue, capturing the might of the activated Torque while still reveling in the glee he felt in being able to run and jump and smash!

Harbinger never fails to entertain and make readers think.  As the titles slides towards its upcoming Harbinger Wars crossover with Bloodshot, the book is hitting its stride.  Harbinger should be on everyone’s “Must Read” list each and every month!

Harbinger #8 is in stores now!

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