January 27, 2014

Review -- HARBINGER #20

Harbinger #20

(Joshua Dysart / Clayton Henry / Brian Reber / Dave Sharpe; Valiant)
4.5 stars
Just exactly how does a gang of misfit kids take down the most powerful man in the world? This is not the tag-line to the latest Scooby-Doo adventure. Rather, it is a question posed by writer Joshua Dysart, and the new arc of his bookHarbinger will, I guess, seek to answer it.
It's a big question, but then again, Harbinger is a big book.
Harbinger #20
But before any sort of answer can be reached, the full extent of the question must be posed. Issue 20 is all about making everything pretty damn clear. This is a book that begins in the future – SOON (echoes of Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf's opening “So”) -- because it has to, because the drama demands it, because it couldn't begin anywhere else.
Toyo Harada and his Harbinger Foundation have basically been in charge all along. It takes issue 20 to let everyone else in this world know it. Once the secret is out, the hand that has been gently cradling the power structures must now clench into a fist. When the mask is taken off, the face underneath is tight in a sneer.

Harbinger #20
Time runs in interesting directions in this issue, the present is climactic as it brings the future into relief, but it is the past that puts everything into motion. Time is a tricky thing in Dysart's writing. It is as much of a player in the drama as any of the personalities involved. Harada's pronouncement, “The Time is thrust upon us all. The world is mine” is the center of the question Dysart is asking, that one about misfit kids and a powerful man.
As the flow of information increases exponentially, we have begun to realize that time itself is altered. Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning went worldwide, instantaneously wiki-ed, by making one decision and tapping into one stream. What was then became now and the future bent to its weight simultaneously. The linear flow we conceive to be time became a snake eating its own tail. Harbinger #20 is about this as much as it is about superhuman heroics. Keeping secrets in the information age is a shaky endeavor because there is always someone smarter and/or more savvy than you out there – and they've got a connection and a keyboard. The hacker scenes in this book are some of the best.
Harbinger #20
Harbinger #20 blows everything wide open. Just about all the shadows have light shone upon them and everything shifts because of this. Dysart and Henry are laying pages of the possible in this book, letting everything jump to this new tune. This is the beginning of something; all the pieces of the question have fit together.
How does a gang of misfit kids take down the most powerful man in the world? I can't wait to find out.

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