In November, Valiant Entertainment announced that each issue of the first story arc of the highly anticipated new Harbinger Renegade series would include a coupon that could be redeemed for Harbinger Wars 2 #0, a special mail-away issue that would serve as an exclusive prolog to Valiant's next major event.
Valiant has teased that Harbinger Wars 2 and Harbinger Wars 2 #0 will not be issues that fans want to miss, and today they followed through on that promise. At today's Valiant Summit event, Valiant Entertainment announced that Harbinger Wars 2 #0 will come from two of their most acclaimed creators, Matt Kindt (Ninjak, Divinity) and Doug Braithwaite (Armor Hunters, Book of Death). The issue ships this December.
Harbinger Wars 2 will shake up the Valiant universe in major ways, and Valiant also revealed that the road to Harbinger Wars 2 begins in "Massacre," a new story arc coming to Harbinger Renegade by Rafer Roberts and Darick Robertson in July. The story will also introduce the Alpha, a major new villain set to change the game in the Valiant universe.
ComicBook.com spoke to Valiant's editor-in-chief Warren Simons and CEO/COO Dinesh Shamdasani about Harbinger Wars 2 #0, "Massacre," and the Harbinger Wars 2 event. And don't miss the full cover for Harbinger Wars 2 #0 and the variant covers for Harbinger Renegade #5 in the gallery below.
Except for certain characters in larger casts, this is Matt Kindt's first time really digging into the psiot/Harbinger side of the Valiant Universe. Why make that leap now, with Harbinger Wars 2 #0?
Warren Simons: Matt’s done an exceptional job for us on a number of fronts, including X-O Manowar, Rapture, Ninjak and more, and as we began to discuss what this book would be, we were very excited by some of the ideas that he came up with and we thought that he would be a great fit for it.
Dinesh Shamdasani: Matt loves the Valiant Universe, and he’s been very open about his love of Ninjak particularly. He knows the clockwork that makes the whole thing tick. We are telling a story as big as any we’ve ever told before, and it’s going to have massive consequences and ramifications. So we need someone who is as inventive as Matt is, and who understands the clockwork of Valiant so well, that he can take it apart. That’s how big of a story we’re building here.
What was is it about Doug Braithwaite that you wanted for Harbinger Wars 2 #0?
WS: Doug is one of the best storytellers in the entire industry. He’s an iconic creator, a brilliant storyteller, and an amazing draftsman. When Matt came up with the story for Harbinger Wars 2 #0, we just knew that we needed someone who could carry the scope of one of the biggest stories Valiant has ever told. And we knew that Doug was the guy.
How does Harbinger Wars 2#0 relate to the core series? Is it prolog? Background material? inciting incident?
DS: Valiant has a great tradition of innovation in its storytelling, and we’re borrowing from that great tradition here. A few years ago, we famously made Harbinger #0, which explored the backstory of Toyo Harada before the events of Harbinger #1. We have a similar kind of backstory that we’ll be presenting in Harbinger Wars 2 #0, and it is a story that we are in love with. But, it’s not a story that is absolutely required reading for Harbinger Wars 2 #1. Anyone who wants to read Harbinger Wars 2 can absolutely jump in with Harbinger Wars 2 #1, but we wanted to build this as a thank you to the fans who supported Harbinger back in the 90s, during our launch in 2012, and up through the launch of Harbinger Renegade last year. So, we did this homage as a tip of the hat to the great, original Valiant creators. We’re very excited about this issue, and we wanted to put a big creative team on it. That’s why Matt and Doug are doing it.
How do the events of Harbinger Renegade and the big death that's been teased as coming in Harbinger Renegade #5 lead into Harbinger Wars 2? What role will Alexander Solomon play?
WS: One of the great things about working at Valiant is that we have a very comprehensive, robust plan where we build things out sometimes one or two years in advance. That way, we’re able to seed stories very early on that are going to pay off massively down the road. The catastrophic events of “Massacre” in Harbinger Renegade #5, in which a major Valiant character dies, will have massive repercussions for not just that particular character, but for the entire political and social climate of our universe. How the universe moves on from there is an enormous, status quo changing event. And it’s going feed directly into Harbinger Wars 2.
DS: Exactly. Harbinger Renegade #5 is going to be one of the most important issues we’ve ever published. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s fantastically written. It’s my favorite script that writer Rafer Roberts has ever turned in for us. And it’s not going be one that fans will forget easily. It’s a great build and a great climax to all the things that have been happening with the Harbinger cast. It’s also a great entry point, because I think it shows better than anything else this year why Valiant is so different. It’s a story that could only be told at Valiant. You will not find a story like this anywhere else this year, or any year previous.
WS: I’d also like to add, as we’ve stated from the start, that dead means dead in the Valiant Universe. Flamingo, another character from Harbinger who died a few years ago, has not come back. Once a character is taken off the board at Valiant, they’re gone for good.
In the first Harbinger Wars, there were pretty clear factions - the Harbinger Foundation, Project Rising Spirit, etc, – what can say about who the new war is actually between?
WS: There were clear factions in the first HARBINGER WARS. But as we’ve seen over the last year, the Valiant Universe is going through some extraordinary upheavals – which will soon include the introduction of a character we’re calling “the Alpha” in Harbinger Renegade #6, as well as the introduction of Alexander Solomon at the beginning of the series. We also recently saw the death of Project Rising Spirit, which occurred in the wonderful work that Jeff Lemire has been doing in Bloodshot…but will soon lead to the introduction of a new organization called Omen. So, the factions that were inherent in the first Harbinger Wars will only be intensified and magnified in this next incarnation. Plus, we’re going to have one of the greatest showdowns, that fans have been asking for throughout the last six years. We’re going to see that take place in this series. And it’s going be absolutely, gut wrenchingly, brutal.
DS: I’m going to double down on that. I’m going to say it’s a showdown that’s been in the making for 25 years. These two characters have never faced off in quite this way and we’ve been building toward it – the original Valiant never got there. I’m very excited, and we’re all very excited that we’re going to showcase this in such a big way. But I would also echo Warren’s sentiments. We’ve seen Omen come on the map recently. We’ve seen Alexander Solomon come on the map, and we’ve talked about how big of a roll he’s going to play.
We also have a very special issue planned for Harbinger Renegade #6. Despite the fact that the “Massacre” arc is so gut wrenching, this has nothing to do with that main story whatsoever. We’re making a backstory here, where we’ll introduce a brand new character that we’re all very excited about. We also haven’t seen GATE in a long time, so this is something that they’d potentially want to have a say in. And I’ll also add that it’s just too bad that X-O Manowar is off planet right now, because the world could really use him in Harbinger Wars 2 #0.