Review: Harbinger Renegades #6
Writer: Rafer Roberts
Art: Juan Jose Ryp
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters: Simon Bowland
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
‘At the height of the Dark Ages, one of the world’s first psiots has made a terrible discovery: he is not alone. Lurking in the shadows, a mind as sadistic as it is powerful waits – a predator with a darkness so great, it will consume any rivals that dare reveal themselves. How will the secret of these legendary figures come to bear on the modern day… and how will it shape the catastrophic Harbinger War that is to come?!’
The year is 1097 and with issue #6 of the wholly immersive series, Valiant have conjured for us a break in the running story to outline the origin of the vilest of the Renegade’s antagonists, the ‘Alpha’ known as Stormbringer. As well as the story unfolding within the form of a European crusade, we are showered with glimpses of the paranoia, fears and hopes that the psiots perpetually carry with them, which of course still manifest themselves within the lives of our modern day Renegades. In a clean cut case of dramatic irony, exactly why these feelings recur won’t be lost on the reader. So have Valiant spanned the ages successfully here, or are we taken on a flight of fancy?
The writing, courtesy of Harvey Award-nominated writer Rafer Roberts (Plastic Farm), is precise and somber. No words are wasted within the dangerous times presented to us in the plot. No mean feat for a man who’s perhaps better known by some for his artwork. We follow our protagonist, Sir Gerald of Catalonia, who has been anointed as God’s saviour in this particular battle against evil, alongside old friend Ragnall, and his assembled platoon of six hundred men. They travel vast distances to eventually find the beast under siege but under no pressure to secede. And this castle siege is where the majority of our action takes place. Roberts has notched up the suspense through the use of foreboding signifiers throughout the journey. The build up is also heightened with Gerald’s thoughts along the way. We are given invaluable insight into the mind of a man who knows his worth but also his frailties. This continues through to the conclusion of the book and works well to both develop his character in a short time, but also to draw us to him – I definitely felt invested. Dialogue, at times, feels a little cheesy, especially with Ragnall’s arrival, however, Stormbringer’s dialogue avoids the expected cliches but instead comes across as both unsettling and capricious. This all feels serious, a very different feel to the recent Immortal Brothers one shot, and is the better for it. Valiant aren’t known for out-and-out horror, but if they did, as with Britania, this could be an appetising taste of what it may be like.
Art wise, the book looks spectacular thanks to artist Juan Jose Ryp (BRITANNIA) and his highly recognisable realistic style. Faces and body features are awash with kinesis and expression. In particular, the characters’ eyes hold much more than a lesser artist could muster. Throughout the build up, frames are thoughtfully measured so as to provide maximum impact with the larger framed, action sequences. Writer and artist are truly working in harmony; a knowing telepathy, no pun intended. And this is all complimented further with colourist extraordinaire, Dalhouse, who applies the same keen eye and intelligent hand that he applies to all of his work. The durge of the war-torn countryside is depicted in horrid greys and dull blues; the battle sequences awash with the flight of shrapnel and wrenched body parts; blinding explosions engulf the pages as if seeking an escape. Glorious!
To conclude, the book should be regarded as a rare gem; a foray into unchartered territory whilst the team envision their next step in the road to HARBINGER WARS 2! Not only is this a ‘must’ for Renegade fans and Valiant regulars alike, but this is yet another book that is reaching out a stop sign to passing traffic. Stop and have a read of this – you won’t be disappointed.
Thank you for reading our review of Harbinger Renegades #6. We here at the Chico Comics Page appreciate your viewership. We invite you to check back with us soon as we post often. Or, you can follow us on Facebook (The Chico Comics Page) and Twitter (@ChicoComicsPage) for regular updates on all of our posts.
Review written by Arun S.
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