Harbinger Wars 2 #3 Delivers A Gut Punch

by Tony Thornley

There’s a classic cliche you hear getting tossed around a lot – “Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.” If you summed up Harbinger Wars 2 as a whole in one sentence, that cliche would be it, without a doubt. In this issue, characters do the wrong thing for the right reasons, and the right thing for the wrong reasons. And it makes the issue a fascinating read for it.

Matt Kindt, Tomas Giorello, Renato Guedes, Diego Rodriguez, and Dave Sharpe bring us this brutal chapter of the story. The creative team literally tackles the aforementioned cliches on two fronts. It’s not just a great action read, it also comes from a great philosophical lens.  [**Warning: Spoilers follow and the preview pages may be a little graphic.]
Bloodshot is tearing through GATE on LiveWire’s orders, leaving a bloody wake behind him. X-O bearer Aric Dacia, Ninjak and Major Palmer of HARDCorps are facing some of the out of control psiots allied with LiveWire when GATE begs for back-up. While X-O rushes to aid, Ninjak and Palmer come to blows.
Palmer is too blind with rage, and determined to complete his mission to consider the human cost. Ninjak knows the kids are just trying to defend themselves, even if they’re brutal and potentially out of control doing it. If anyone in this story is in the wrong, it’s Palmer, without a doubt. Kindt still doesn’t paint him as an outright villain though. His actions are cruel and monstrous, but he’s doing what he believes is right, even if his targets are just kids.

Ninjak has been doubting his actions this entire series, and Kindt just nails that here. He takes down Palmer without hesitation. He wants to stop the psiots’ wanton destruction, but he also recognizes that they’re scared kids.
This fight raises a lot of real life issues with the philosophical argument at the core of the series. Should safety be first priority, or does the sanctity of life supersede that? I don’t know if Kindt intended this, but it arguably could draw parallels to the immigration argument that has drawn the focus of American politics. Yes, the law is being broken, but these are human beings, and extreme measures shouldn’t be taken against them. It really works.
The writing aside, Guedes draws the hell out of this. The fight is just awesome. He is able to encapsulate the cores of the characters, and it makes the fight so much more interesting. Palmer relies too much on his powers, while Ninjak is bounding around him. It’s so visually engaging.
In the other main event – Bloodshot versus X-O Manowar – Kindt and Giorello depict a situation that’s spiralled out of control. Bloodshot is doing the right thing, with LiveWire’s help. GATE has had nefarious purposes and has done some bad things. But the duo are killing and destroying indiscriminately. Aric isn’t trying to shut down Bloodshot because he’s wrong. He’s trying to shut him down because he’s crossed a line.
The brutal, bloody violence (wonderfully drawn by Giorello) is sickening. Even Aric, a battle hardened soldier, is shocked by it. When he finally finds and confronts Bloodshot, he’s transformed into a literal monster in his rage and blood lust. It’s a literalization of the metaphor that works so well. Bloodshot may be in the right, but he’s absolutely doing it in the wrong way.

This continues to be a stellar event. I will recommend the Valiant Universe to any superhero comic fan, and this event is a great example of why. Check it out today.
Harbinger Wars II #3 is available now from Valiant Entertainment in comic stores and digitally.

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