Friday, January 9, 2015
Harbinger #15 and #16 (Classic Valiant)
The Harbinger Foundation, an institute dedicated to turning superhuman teenagers into living weapons for their cause of a New World Order, is after sleazy technopath Ax, and among the team sent out to take him in is Stronghold, a new recruit.
This two-parter is a total waste! It has almost no plot, and is made up of boring fight scenes. The story barely focuses on the leads, and there are some anti-deus ex-machina moments that are integrated poorly. There's no real villain either. Just multiple parties of people fighting each-other until the story abruptly stops!
No characters in this story have anything to them, save for Livewire and Stronghold, but even he gets barely anything. His character journey only gets one good moment, and the decision he and Livewire come to at the story's end is very rushed. The villainous Ax returns this issue, accomplishing nothing but evilly boasting for one panel before getting a few limbs broken, and largely forgotten. He's stuck at the bottom of an elevator shaft for most of the story until he's kidnapped by Harbinger shock troops, and that's it
The writing here is bland, and the dialogue from character Bazooka is particularly awful.
The art in these issues is decent, but there are problems. There are numerous pages made up of only three panels, which is very wasteful, and even worse is the very confusing scene structure in one fight in Issue #16. The covers are very dull. All the action on Issue #15's is just offscreen, while #16 has some decent action poses, but totally lacks any background.
To think this crappy story was a backdoor pilot for other Valiant series Secret Weapons is pretty amusing, given how unfocused the story is, and how little SW leads Stronghold and Livewire feature...