Harbinger Renegade #5

Written by: Rafer Roberts

Art by: Darick Robertson, Richard Clark, and Diego Rodriguez

Published by: Valiant Comics

WARNING….MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

For my spoiler free video review of Harbinger Renegade #5 – click right here!!!

I’m going to date myself for a second. Many years ago I was looking through TV Guide and there was an advert for a new episode of Beverly Hills 90210. It showed the entire cast and said that one of them was going to die. I looked over the cast photo and noticed something. Douglas Emerson was included in this cast photo and while Emerson was a part of the cast in the first season he was only in snippets here and there during the second season. I looked and poor Doug and knew right away. Sorry dude…looks like you are going to bite the big one. (AND? I was correct.)

For MONTHS now Valiant Comics has been telling readers that someone is going to die in Harbinger Renegade #5. That this death would be a major Valiant character. They showed pages from the comic except instead of art and words they had the words “REDACTED” plastered all over the pages. When they did show artwork and word bubbles, the text there was also redacted as well.

Someone big is going to die in Harbinger Renegade #5. Considering that Valiant killed off Flamingo in the previous Harbinger series (a precedent set when Torque died in the very early issues of the original 90’s Harbinger series) it really led me to believe that they were going to kill off someone huge. How huge? I was honestly thinking that either Peter Stanchek or Faith was going to die. If I had to put my money on it, it was going to be Faith. Would they kill off Faith forever? I didn’t think so. I thought they would kill her off for a year or so then somehow find a way to bring her back just before the release of the Harbinger feature film.

I know that Valiant likes to say, “Dead is dead” in their universe…but I thought nothing would cause readers to go off a cliff then killing off Faith.

Once again I’m going to warn you about spoilers…stop reading if you don’t want everything spoiled for you.

The big questions here is who dies? Which one of the Renegades bites the bullet? I’m sorry to say but the answer is…none of them.

NONE OF THEM?!?!?!

That’s right. To be even more direct the Renegades don’t even make an appearance in the comic.

Issue 4 ended with new antagonist Alexander Solomon coming to the Renegades with a proposition. Well first he messes with them a bit, but at least it brings the whole team together. It was all part of Solomon’s plan and even though it ended with Torque in the hospital – he succeeded in getting Peter Stanchek away from his outer space sabbatical and getting the group together one more time.

So it this book isn’t about the Renegade team, just what exactly IS it about?

The basic plot of the story is the H.A.R.D. Corps team going out to kickass against the Generation Zero kids. You know these kids, right? They first appeared in the Harbinger Wars mini-series and then went on to their own book. If you are thinking to yourself, “Is it one of them who dies?” you would be guessing correctly. X-O doesn’t die, Ninjak doesn’t die, Archer and Armstrong don’t die. Nope…it is one of the lower tier characters.  I go back to that 90210 advert. If it was X-O, Archer & Armstrong, Quantum and Woody, Shadowman, the Renegades, Bloodshot, and Cronus from Generation Zero in an advert saying, “One of them was going to die!” I would have looked right at Cronus and said, “Sorry dude. You’re toast.”

This marketing was brilliant. Bagging up comics so no one can even piece through it in the comic book store. Telling us all that a Valiant hero was going to kick the bucket. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Even though, for me, the hype doesn’t stand up to the actual story – it is still amazing.  Why doesn’t it live up to the hype?  Because I really thought it would have been one of the biggest characters in Valiant’s stable kicking the bucket.

As for the actual story it is pretty damn good, even with the Renegades not featured in their own book. This issue is one big action sequence. H.A.R.D. Corps heads for Rook, Michigan (formerly called Detroit) which is where the Generation Zero kids call home. The mission? Kill the Generation Zero kids. They aren’t children to H.A.R.D. Corps. They are soldiers.

So H.A.R.D. Corps launches their attack and are immediately met with resistance. These kids are also out for blood and they start picking off H.A.R.D. Corps members one by one. Many H.A.R.D. Corps member die until they are actually able to take down one of the biggest and best Generation Zero members.

It isn’t until the very end that the issue ties back in to what was happening in the previous issues of Renegade. Which is exactly what the book needed to do.

We all know what’s coming: the second Harbinger War. Is this basically the start of that war? Yes and it looks to be a drag down bloody fight that could leave the Valiant Universe with a few less heroes and villains.

Am I slightly disappointed that Valiant didn’t kill off someone like Peter or Faith? Yeah…kinda. Did they deliver on their promise that this was going to be one of the biggest books of 2017? Absolutely. This is a kickass, balls to the wall issue full of action, intrigue, and death. Harbinger Renegade #5 promised death and destruction and it truly delivered.

This is Valiant’s “shot heard round the world” and it will truly be the beginning of what could be the biggest event in comics.

RANK: A

OHHHHHHHH….and here’s a P.S. – look at this cover!

Tell me that you DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WITH THIS ALTERNATE COVER?!?!?! Come on Valiant…it gives away the whole story…!!!