The final punch up

Written by Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing
Art by Robbi Rodriguez
Colouring by Rico Renzi
Lettering by Hassan Ostmane-Elhaou

So here we are at the end of The Harbinger. I have enjoyed this new take on Peter because, well it’s made me care about Peter. Had you told me at the start of this series that I would be genuinely pleased to see Peter Stanchek succeed I would never have believed you. Yet pleased I am. The Harbinger wraps up with questions answered but with enough potential should anyone wish to pick up from where this run finished. It is, however, a satisfying conclusion in and of itself.

What I like about the conclusion – while trying not to spoil too much – is that it’s not about brute force. Truth be told this has never been about brute force. what has been good about The Harbinger is the fact that in both writing and art it’s engaged that mental part of Peter, it’s been about Peter’s own mind, his mental state, his sense of self. That’s been reflected right the way through and it’s fitting that it remains the key to the conclusion. There’s some really good work in this issue to make a satisfying conclusion. It works and does so by bringing forth that strength we’ve seen in previous issues.

Not to say the finale is all about Peter. Faith once more gets a chance to shine. Ago and Cici are also at the forefront. Plus we get a resolution, of sorts, with Baxter which I was relieved about because for some reason I am particularly attached to Baxter these days. I was glad to see Faith remembered him as well in a nice bit of continuity from the past. So, yes, although is Peter’s tale the supporting cast of characters is not forgotten.

Nor is The Renegade but it was interesting that the Renegade proved easier to defeat than I’d expected. I was prepared for an epic showdown, and there is a showdown. There’s a panel where the two do collide and the art makes you feel the large power that is generated when they do. However, the overall final confrontation has a more subtle aspect to it, it’s more mature. This fits as it is a more mature Peter who is winning here. It’s a more mature Peter who has been inside his own head enough now to know himself and know how to defeat himself, for that is who The Renegade is.

The way the art shows these rather large themes and moments is really excellent. Throughout this run the art has conveyed some really interesting insights into the sort of person Peter is, what is going on in his mind and that is still the case here. There are some really beautifully done pages with tendrils of yellow coming up from his mask that then thread through and divide some of the thoughts Peter is having. It’s just really strong and impactful.

There are several of those ‘wow’ art moments. The art really reflects how things have been building up, not only the confrontation between Harbinger and Renegade but also the rest of the action. Faith taking on Baxter to try and stop him is really well done, especially when she is grabbing his shirt after she’s punched him to get the monster to revert to the Baxter we all know and love. From the way she is holding on we really get a sense of just how strong Faith is.

Then there’s Cici’s first real hero moment as she weaves art to save people. That’s really well realised as we can see her use her new powers in full. You can sense the determination in her as she stretches herself to help others The weaving of her powers in the art is very pretty and you really get a strong sense of who Cici is when – as a newly activated psiot – she is thrown into a perilous situation.

As I said this is a really solid finale. It takes everything you’ve loved about The Harbinger up to this point and just leads it to a satisfying conclusion perfectly in keeping with all the themes and ideas that have been used throughout. This is an excellent conclusion to a book that has made me care about Peter Stanchek and really that is a testament to how good this book is. It gives a fresh take on a character that has been difficult to tackle in the past. Plus it brings back Faith in a good way too.

Now we have all the issues out I recommend you go back and read it from the start, or catch it in trade when that comes out but honestly I don’t think you will be disappointed reading Peter’s story. Solid character work, plotting and art. Good stuff.

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