Experience Superheroes In the Real World: Harbinger Wars 2 Prelude #1

by Tony Thornley

If Valiant proved anything in this one-shot leading into their latest summer event, it’s that the company knows how to handle the world outside our window better than any comic company on the market right now.

[*Spoilers for this issue below!]
In this issue, by Eric Heisserer, Raul Allen and Patricia Martin, we experience one really bad afternoon in the life of Amanda McKee, the hero known as Livewire. As she’s brought in for questioning by the Department of Homeland Security, her current charges- the Secret Weapons- are stalked by HARDCorps. DHS plans on taking out the teens while Amanda is in a room full of power jammers being questioned.  Fortunately, she is able to break through the jamming a moment before the kids are attacked and is able to delay HARDCorps an instant- just long enough for the kids to escape. In a rage, Amanda then proceeds to show the true range of her power- she crashes the United States. The entire US goes dark, outside a few resources Amanda allows to continue to operate.
Marvel Comics has long professed to be the “world outside your window” but Valiant puts that declaration to shame here. Heisserer’s script is smart, and capitalizes on the paranoid surveillance state we’ve found ourselves in. Livewire uses smart devices, surveillance systems, drones, and self-driving cars all in a stunning display of power that’s equal parts intelligent and terrifying. The kids are all ripped from our modern world, and shows a range of diverse backgrounds that we don’t often find in today’s comics. It’s also a smart action comic, without protagonists that don’t throw a single punch.
Allen and Martin’s art is a great companion. They depict the claustrophobia that Livewire experiences even while out in the open incredibly well, and shift from scene to scene with surprising grace. I always love a comic that plays with layouts, and they do that perfectly here as well. Another standout part of the art- each character looks like their own individual in a lot of different ways. Too many artists just use the same figure and swap some details, and they go out of their way to make sure that’s not the case here.
I cannot neglect to mention Martin’s work on the letters as well. She depicts the constant stream of data flowing towards Amanda wonderfully. It’s a flawless integration of letter work into the story that’s not just speech and captions. It deepens the experience so much.

If you’re looking for something a little different in your superhero reading, try this issue out.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Harbinger Wars 2: Prelude #1 released from Valiant Comics on May 2nd 2018 and is currently available.

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