The stage is set for the “Harbinger Wars 2” arc — Valiant’s first crossover event of 2018. Flagship Valiant hero X-O Manowar is returning to Earth to take on HARBINGER star Peter Stancheck. Until then, The Renegades, a team of persecuted super-powered psiots, continue their dual mission to 1) protect the emerging psiot population and 2) stay hidden from the mercenary team hunting them.

In this momentous issue, the Renegades and the H.A.R.D. Corps’ conflict comes to a head. While there are some dialogue missteps, overall HARBINGER RENEGADE #8 is a perfect stage-setting issue. This comic doesn’t substitute plot machinations for emotion. The highlight of this issue is the emotive monologue that Kris Hathaway opens the story with. Writer Rafer Roberts and artist Darick Robertson open up Kris Hathaway’s character and give the team some breathing room before the impending war.

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Battle Scars

HARBINGER RENEGADE #8 begins with the Renegades forced against a wall. The H.A.R.D. Corps, a team of elite government mercenaries, have slaughtered the Generation Zero team and are now looking for Alexander Solomon and the Renegades. While the Renegades hide out awaiting their next move, the H.A.R.D. Corps’ threat looms large.

The majority of set-up for the upcoming “Harbinger Wars” arc has already begun, which leaves this issue open for character development. While there are a last-minute revelation and plot twist, there is not much change to the status quo. By the end of the issue, we know there is still going to be an all-out brawl between Alexander Solomon, the Renegades, and the H.A.R.D. Corps.

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HARBINGER RENEGADE #8
Image Courtesy of Valiant Entertainment.

The Focus on Kris

Roberts’ introduction to this issue is fantastic, in terms of both emotional impact and pacing. In a calm before the storm moment, Kris Hathaway, the Renegades’ reluctant leader, makes a visit to her worried parents. In previous issues, we have come to see Hathaway as fearless. However, HARBINGER RENEGADE #8 features Hathaway in a completely different light. Her parents berate her for her reckless acts of government rebellion and the dangers she has put herself and others in. Surprisingly, Hathaway concedes to some of their points. She even expresses some self-doubt of her own abilities and her cause.

HARBINGER RENEGADE #8
Image Courtesy of Valiant Entertainment.

As the Renegades delve into the greatest battle of their lives, it is haunting to see their leader question her plan right off the bat. Roberts begins the issue with a series of similar panels, all featuring Hathaway’s monologue to her parents. HARBINGER RENEGADE #8 starts off with the personal struggles and then builds to the action and plot set-up later.

The dialogue is perfectly paced and nuanced. It is very rare in comics to have a superhero protagonist’s ultimate foil be her two elderly parents. In a layered series of exchanges, Hathaway and her parent’s switch between criticism and concern.

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HARBINGER RENEGADE #8

HARBINGER RENEGADE #8
Images Courtesy of Valiant Entertainment.

H.A.R.D. Corps

The remainder of the issue is equally split between the Renegades preparing at the camp and the H.A.R.D. Corps setting up their evil schemes. These are two scenes we have seen before numerous times in previous issues. While they are not boring per se, they do not add much. The remainder of the comic (besides the spoilery twist), just seems like filler.

The scenes with the violent H.A.R.D. Corps are the most action-packed. However, they are also somewhat cringey. During a scene where the mercenaries are engaging in a military exercise, the team’s leader, Major Palmer, says a team member’s name at the end of almost any sentence. With team member names like Flatline, Eastwood, Hayseed, and Lifeline, it is not hard to see how this dialogue can feel a little stunted. This clunky speech pattern is not disastrous. Still, it is awkward, and I found it took me out of the issue a little bit.

HARBINGER RENEGADE #8
Image Courtesy of Valiant Entertainment.

Looking the Part

Robertson’s art is consistently great throughout this issue. I appreciated his use of close-ups and emotive faces. Often times, comic book close-ups can make the faces look rubbery, but here everything looks natural. This art keeps the consistently excellent quality we have come to expect from HARBINGER RENEGADE and Valiant Comics as a whole.

HARBINGER RENEGADE #8: Final Thoughts

Overall, HARBINGER RENEGADE #8 is a fantastic issue that sheds refreshing emotional light on the team’s leader, Kris Hathaway. Some of the later moments are clearly filler, and there is a fair bit of clunky dialogue. However, as a whole, this issue sets us up perfectly for the sure-to-be phenomenal “Harbinger Wars 2” arc that will be coming our way soon.

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HARBINGER RENEGADE #8 by Rafer Roberts and Darick Robertson
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
Despite being a filler issue, HARBINGER RENEGADE #8 is an emotional rollercoaster that expertly leverages Kris Hathaway's inner struggle.
94 %
Fine Filler

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