There are a number of highly recommendable issues on the stands today. We will see the second issue of the incredibly out there (and potentially out of touch but who gives a damn) Dial H; Night Force continues its excellent run with its fourth issue and Avengers Vs X-Men #5 hits the stand with an ending that I for one did not expect, even though I thought I had the entire storyline mapped out in my head.
My favourite for the day has to be the re-launch of Harbinger, part of the new ‘Valiant Summer’ season. Way back when, when Jim Shooter created the Valiant line using numerous old licences and including new concepts, Harbinger was on of the latter. A sort of corporate New Mutants, only once the Harbinger youth have a falling out with their resident Professor Xavier – Toyo Harada, the series seemed to have a little more in common with the old New Universe’s Displaced Paranormals DP7. A life on the run from an all-encompassing organisation, led by a heartthrob hero and comprising of young, vibrant teens. (Oh and one slightly overweight one, female to boot! I personally loved the character of Zephyr, even if she was underused, and I look forward to her return. I think she was one of the first female heroes who had waistline issues when her power wasn’t simply being fat, like say Big Bertha.)
This time, at first glance the situation is not so clear cut. Toyo Harada appears as a nigh-messianic good guy, rescuing youngsters from the depths that only despairing teenagers with mental health challenges can really sink to. No longer Mr Heart-throb, Peter Stanchek is a confused young boy on the run from a sanatorium that his powers had delivered him into. Oh, and there appears to be the obligatory shadowy organisation behind it.
Nevertheless, Joshua Dysart’s script presents compelling characters, while Khari Evans sublime art is a cross between the detailed representational styles that we demand from many of our titles, yet has an air of the beautiful painted texture of the original series. Despite the abundance of clichés that cannot be avoided when telling the story of the Harbingers, this is a satisfying issue, and enough to make me return next month, if only to see just how long it is that Harada remains on the side of the angels.