Writer Joshua Dysart is doing a phenomenal job developing HARBINGER'S cast. Simply put, the side characters don't feel like side characters. He's given each of them the spotlight at one time or another and that really helps immerse you in their universe. These aren't expendable or stereotypical characters where you won't give a damn about their fate. You know their motivations, you know their experiences, and whether you like it or not, you're going to care about what happens to them. That's worth tons of praise because it's far too common where characters just don't feel real. That's not the case here and it's easily the selling point of this series.
Speaking of characters, this issue introduces Flamingo. It's so rare for characters in this book to have blatantly black or white personalities and that makes their reaction to these powers so fascinating. Faith is such a fangirl that she simply geeked out over the ability to fly. Flamingo? She's clearly sporting deep emotional scars and she puts these new powers to a more than fitting use. I'd say a junk on fire is proper punishment for anyone that's abusive to their significant other. Back to the topic of Faith, though. She's the heart and soul of this book. She's essentially one of us if thrown into this crazy scenario and provides all of the comedic banter ("This place is diiiiiirty"). She's stoked about this world of powers and she wants to use them for good. I'd like to believe most of us would have the same reaction, so it's only appropriate her name is "Faith."
There are two stunning splash pages in this issue. The first is the display of raw power Toyo Harada possesses. Everything about this image is fantastic.The look on his face, his eyes glowing with displeasure, the flames soaring behind him, the Project Rising Spirit troops being torn apart... it's amazing stuff. Then there's Flamingo's first display of power. The coloring alone makes that worth staring at for a minute or two.
I don't know about you, but I imagine I'd be a little more shocked if I saw my girlfriend severely burnt like that. Sure, Huxley's an abusive jerk, but it's clear he still cares for her in his own twisted way. Get that girl to a hospital, man!
Also, Peter gave up rather easily on recruiting Flamingo. I'm surprised he didn't simply use his powers on the security guy.
HARBINGER is pure win. It's a book driven by a diverse cast of engaging characters and then throws in some insane powers into the mix. We still have one more character to join the squad before 'Harbinger Wars' kicks off, and that's something you should definitely look out for. Also coming up is #0 which will feature Toyo Harada's origin. That's something I'm really pumped to see. He's a truly unique character and I'm anxious to witness the events that molded him into the man he is today. HARBINGER is an excellent character study and I can't recommend it enough.