There's a lot of weight resting on HARBINGER WARS' shoulders. Valiant, the rather awesome publisher, has been hyping their first crossover for months. On their own, HARBINGER and BLOODSHOT are superb reads for their own reasons. BLOODSHOT for its insane action and HARBINGER for some of the best character development you can find on a page. But what happens when you toss these worlds into the same book? Luckily for us, the result is definitely a cool and engaging way to kickoff a big event.
It might not seem like it, but this is pretty high praise since we've been fed so many less than stellar events and crossovers by various publishers over the past few years. Writers Duane Swierczynski and Joshua Dysart clearly get what needs to be done with the opening of an event. Yes, the amount of characters is sure to test your memory's limitations if you're a new reader, but this is countered by solid pacing, giving us just enough time with everyone in the massive cast. You'll get the the basics (powers and personality), but they'll never overstay their welcome and no key players are ever overshadowed. And yes, there's plenty of action to go around, too. Seeing Bloodshot finally take on the Harbingers was short yet oh-so sweet.
With three illustrators lending their talents, the change in art is sure to be jarring. That said, the hugely different styles works well for the book. Each looks great and brings a different and fitting vibe to the scenes. I particularly love the work on the Bleeding Monk's segment -- the amount of detail there is nothing short of glorious. Overall, this first issue looks fantastic.
The battle in China gets a little too crowded at times and, because of this, detail is sacrificed. Enemies almost blur together and it made the action deliver less of an impact for me -- which is unfortunate because there's some ridiculously cool powers on display. The scene of course still looks wonderful, it just has a sloppier feel than the prior panels.
While they do everything possible to make this new reader friendly (there's a creative intro page, too), the amount of characters is almost overwhelming. Yes, we're given 30 pages to let everything play out, but I imagine this will be a little taxing if you're jumping into this with zero BLOODSHOT or HARBINGER experience.
HARBINGER WARS is finally here and it's off to a tremendous start. Relatively minor complaints aside, it does a more than able job setting the stage for what's to come while diving deep into characters and providing a more than fair amount of entertaining violence. Assuming HARBINGER WARS keeps at this pace (and given the publisher's track record, it's safe to say it will), it'll absolutely live up to the hype and was well worth the wait. With BLOODSHOT's brutal nature and the rich characters from HARBINGER, what's not to love?
I get many of you have a limited budget and $3.99 is frightening to see on a cover, but it's totally justified here. We're talking about a 30 page issue (includes a preview for their upcoming book, QUANTUM AND WOODY, too) that actually offers character development, fun action, and lays out a solid overall narrative. It's 30 pages of pure goodness.