“Harbinger” is one of Valiant Comics’ most beloved series. Sadly, as with all stories, this one is coming to an end. Joshua Dysart is ending this series in a big way with “Book of Death: The Fall of Harbinger,” a comic that pulls out everything except the kitchen sink.
Peter Stancheck, a psiot (human with untapped mental abilities) goes on a suicide mission to kill Toyo Harada who is returning to earth to destroy it.
The plot sounds really basic, but the end result is fascinating and in a weird way deep. The entire comic is told through Peter’s inner monologue. Inner monologues in comics rarely come across as interesting. Here it’s on par with some good novels. It brings you into Peter’s mind, shows off his emotions and brings the entire situation to life. It’s not a literary masterpiece, but it’s well written and entertaining.
The only downside to the writing is the pop culture name dropping and naming conventions are cringe worthy. These include mentioning “TMZ” and a character named Ambassador Aretha Franklin. These are supposed to add humor to the story, but they make the reader feel physical pain rather than laughter.
The art by Kano is absolutely stunning. The visuals used in the outer space parts are just a joy to look at. The colors, designs and the overwhelming sense of being in a place like that are simply mystifying. Of course, some of the art does take a dip when certain characters are in certain poses. These instances look unnatural and don’t fit with the comic’s overall aesthetic.
The first issue of “Book of Death: The Fall of Harbinger” is a wonderful beginning of the end to “Harbinger.” The writing is excellent and the art is something to behold. The unfunny pop culture references may be moan inducing, but they don’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the comic.