On the cover of issue five of ‘Harbinger Renegades’ walks a beaten down, bitter man. And his latest assignment is cringe worthy. He has to wrangle in the members of Generation Zero. They’ve taken over Rook Michigan and have made it a safe haven for young people. They know that forces are out to get them, but they’re going to handle whatever is out there. As long as it’s together they’ll come through the other side. And writer Rafer Roberts makes everything seem so hopeful. If this were a horror movie you’d hear the happy music, the kind that plays just before everything goes to hell. He furthers this false sense of security by having them call each other by their first names instead of the code ones they’re known for. It’s like that moment in Homer’s ‘Iliad’ when Hektor removes his helmet to stop his infant son from crying. In that moment he is no longer a warrior. Instead he becomes the loving, caring father he needs to be. But you can’t switch roles in the middle of war. The thing is Generation Zero thinks the war is over when this is only a bludgeoned beginning.
What’s more because of what happened in Bloodshot, Project Rising Spirit is no longer around. However, when something that monstrous is gone it leaves a vacuum and something worse usually rises up in its place. You realize that because the moral center of the Valiant universe isn’t in this issue. Livewire who was Toyo Harada’s protégé, then turned against him when she found out his plan for world domination. Even Ninjak is not here and he lives in the grey zone, but there are some things even he won’t do. The Major on the other hand seems will do anything.
The subtitle of this comic is Massacre Part One. The justification for this slaughter is calling children terrorists. By dehumanizing them the Major commits several heinous acts and yes a major character dies as it has been teased for the past few weeks. Still, the way in which they leave this comic book world will remind you of a murder. If the Major was smart he’d realize that he’s being used to take the most powerful beings in this universe off the chess board. At this stage he doesn’t seem to know or care who’s he working for. That kind of anger makes a man stop thinking and just start killing. But what’s going to happen to the Major when everyone standing in this new organization’s way is eliminated?
Rafer Roberts has started a traumatizing narrative that makes you feel as if you’re living the nightmare. Perhaps that’s what true horror is, existing in a world where the boogeymen and those who believe what they’re doing is for the greater good become the same men.