The GoodWow, talk about an emotionally charged issue. All too often protagonists will suffer some kind of tragedy and unfortunately, they aren't always handled fittingly. That's not the case here and writer Joshua Dysart handles Peter Stanchek's backlash incredibly well. You feel Peter's animosity, immaturity and frustration working at full strength as he goes off on a suicide mission.
Sure, there's explosions, bones breaking and some awesome powers at display, but HARBINGER is first and foremost a character driven book. Without that strong emotional connection, the violence is meaningless or reduced to mere popcorn entertainment. Thankfully, If you've been following from issue #1, odds are you've developed a strong connection to Peter (courtesy of Dysart) and that helps make this brutal issue one hell of a ride. And even if you haven't read the previous 4 issues, this can still serve remotely well as a jumping on point.
Speaking of brutal, the action here (complimented by artist Khari Evans' pencils) is absurdly powerful. You'll cringe as an arm is broken or a jaw is dislocated. It shouldn't be a surprise when this issue finds its way into my "Best Battles" segment Friday.
Evans' facial work is great too, always striking the right mood for Peter's drastic feelings. It'll often hit the right balance between pure hatred and a sick smile at the thought of revenge. It's almost disturbing as Peter stands broken and beaten, with a twisted smile on his face and his eyes radiating.
You simply have no heart if you don't love Faith. She's essentially one of us. First a foremost she's a fan (plenty of references to be found) and her overwhelming appreciation of being in such a surreal situation is especially cheering. It's a refreshing change from the often darker tone found in the book.
Oh, and I think all fights should end with the victor saying "wave goodbye, a##hat."
The BadThere's a bit of silly exposition here and there which could have easily been covered in the opening recap ("Hidden Moon! The man who holds the leash!"), but thankfully, remarks like that are quickly turned into some stellar and snarky dialogue ("How's that leash feel now? Too tight?").
Why are powerful telepaths striking a fighting pose like video game characters ready for round 1? I imagine fisticuffs is hardly their go-to response.