Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Begun the Harbinger Wars Have:
The First Event of the Resurrected Valiant Universe

Back in the 1990s, Valiant Comics was a major player in the industry.  With solid characters carried over from Gold Key like Solar, Man of the Atom and Magnus, Robot Fighter along with originals like Shadowman and X-O Manowar, Valiant gave readers fantastic alternatives to the likes of Marvel and DC and, along with the fledgling Image, brought a lot of competition to the markets.

Of course, they were also key contributors in fueling the speculator boom of the era with their gimmick covers and issue #0 offers being made available only by collecting and cutting out the coupons inserted into a slew of other, often completely unrelated, titles, but while they were around, they sure were fun.

Image, Valiant, 90's, FAIL
And let’s not forget the much maligned Deathmate crossover between Valiant and Image!

Of course, like a lot of companies, they seemed to fly a little too close to the sun too quickly and faded into bankruptcy and obscurity, threatening never to be heard from again.  A few half hearted revivals came and went, but it seemed Valiant really was dead.

But then, like something out mythology, they came back and last year, we got the Summer of Valiant, in which four resurrected and rebooted titles debuted, one each in consecutive months, bringing in top talent like Duane Swierczynski, Joshua Dysart, Clayton Henry and Fred Van Lente.

First it was the return of X-O Manowar, followed by Harbinger, Bloodshot, and then Archer and Armstrong.  A fifth title, Shadowman, was released a few months later in November, and Valiant’s not done yet.

Valiant Comics, Harbinger Wars
Seriously.  You need to be reading these series.

In April, the newly reborn Valiant Universe will offer up its first official crossover event, Harbinger Wars, that will involve a four issue Harbinger Wars miniseries and issues #10-13 of Bloodshot and #11-14 of Harbinger.

Why these two titles?  Why now?  Why not?!

Both books have been interconnected from the start and there have been intimations of a bloody history between the major players in each title.

Valiant Comics, Harbinger Wars
I’m sensing a LOT of hostility here.

Harbinger revolves around Toyo Harada’s Harbinger Foundation, and he’s almost like a mix between Professor Xavier and Magneto.  Possessing powers himself, he is gathering others with abilities to his own purposes, seeking to control the course of human evolution by taking it over piece by piece from behind the scenes.

He is opposed primary by Peter Stanchek, a young recruit gone AWOL, and a band of Renegades he is slowly putting together with some help.  Peter is incredibly powerful in his own right, but he’s going to need a lot more allies to challenge Harada directly.

Harada has the Eggbreakers at his command, an elite team with a vast array of powers and he’s not exactly someone that tolerates dissent readily.

Valiant Comics, Harbinger Wars
And he does scary crap like this…

Bloodshot, on the other hand, is an operative of Project Rising Spirit, an organization often at cross purposes with the Harbinger Foundation.  He’s a military assassin filled with intelligent nanites in his blood that give him enhanced strength, speed, and healing powers.  The downside is that PRS has routinely wiped his memory and implanted false ones to keep him in line, a plan that they’re now starting to realize wasn’t their best.

In his past, he’s been a Harbinger hunter and even though he’s currently allied only with himself in trying to cut past all the BS his mind has been filled with, some programming may run a bit too deep for him to break.

Valiant Comics, Harbinger Wars
Should he be around the children like that?  Just sayin’…

At the root of the event is a place called the Nursery, a facility recently uncovered by Bloodshot that is run by PRS, but is coveted by Harada’s organization.  For their parts, Bloodshot and the Renegades both have the best of intentions for the kids being cultivated in the Nursery, but there’s no doubt they’ll have some very different opinions on how to proceed with their rescuing.

Alliances are going to be forged and broken, blood is going to be spilled, and both books are going to be fundamentally changed going forward.

While the main story will play out in Harbinger Wars, the four issues each of Bloodshot and Harbinger will flesh out the individual characters’ motivations and reactions throughout.  This event, quite literally, has been in the making since both titles debuted, as the ties between the two were unmistakable.

Project Rising Spirit and the Harbinger Foundation have tangled in the past, but they’ve never had the x-factors of Bloodshot and Peter’s Renegades to deal with and whatever the outcome, this is one event you won’t want to miss.

Valiant Comics, Harbinger Wars
It just screams fun to me.

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