Review: The Battle for the Psiots Begins in 'Harbinger Wars 2'

Harbinger Wars 2 has a lot to live up to, but it is getting off to a mighty good start, and Valiant iconcs like Livewire, X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, and Ninjak are all along for the ride.

As seen in the Harbinger Wars 2 Prelude, the event features a standoff between the U.S. Government and the heroes that work under them and the heroes who have united against them to save the Psiots in their crosshairs. Heroes having to take on heroes isn’t something comic fans are unfamiliar with, but they live and die on the viability of the central conflict itself.

There is clearly one side in the wrong in regards to this event, but in this case, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Something Matt Kindt highlights in this storyline is you don’t have to make both sides right; you just have to justify the other heroes’ actions, and Kindt has managed that with flying colors. One side is doing the right thing in a moral sense, while the heroes that oppose them are either simply doing their job or have other viable reasons as in X-O Manowar’s case.

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(Photo: Valiant)

That isn't to say that the heroes who oppose Livewire don't have some legitimate concerns, though the approach has been, to put it bluntly, outright pathetic. This third party could be the key to uniting these sides at a later time, but hopefully Kindt finds a way to make sure the story doesn't fall into formulaic patterns.

Bringing in a larger roster of heroes can sometimes bog a story down, but that isn’t the case here. Things move at a brisk pace, setting up most of the dominoes in the first issue without relying on heavy exposition. It all adds up to an issue that never feels like a typical #1 slog, and yet manages to set up all the important players. Granted, we certainly want more screen time for Faith, but we have a feeling her time will come in future issues.

If you've been reading some of the other Valiant series, you needn't worry about your favorite characters regressing either. Ninjak, X-O, and Bloodshot all feel consistent when compared to their core series, including the Ninjak and Livewire relationship that has been a highlight of his book and Ninja-K.

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(Photo: Valiant)

While it's great to have all these other characters along for the ride, this series will go as far as Livewire takes it. Her emotional tether to these kids is what makes everything else go, and her attachment to them comes across as genuine, and it needs to if the reader is going to believe she'll take such drastic measures to protect them.

On the visual side of things, the artwork is mostly outstanding throughout the issue, though Tomas Giorello’s art shines brightest when Bloodshot or X-O Manowar get the spotlight. His Livewire’s no slouch either, though there aren’t as many action sequences for him to let loose on here. He'll have plenty of time to show off his skills in that regard in issue #2 and beyond, but what is here is strong expression work that reinforces the emotional bonds at the center of this conflict.

Harbinger Wars 2 could very well have been another also-ran event with a catchy title, but so far it is putting the emphasis on the grounded relationships of its cast and a familial throughline that just about any mentor or parent could empathize with. As long as it retains that and doesn't let the size of this event overwhelm it, fans are in for a fantastic ride.

Published by: Valiant Comics

On: May 30, 2018

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Written by: Matt Kindt

Drawn by: Tomas Giorello