Synopsis: The H.A.R.D. Corps, an elite fighting force who has been psionically enhanced, has been tasked with taking back the city of Rook. Rook was liberated by the former P.R.S. child soldier group Generation Zero. When the mission is compromised, both sides spring into action, and a brutal conflict ensues. Though they accomplished operation, the H.A.R.D. Corps has suffered heavy losses, but their new handlers, Omen, have a new mission already lined up. The corps must take down Solomon, Harada’s former right hand.
Review: Stakes. For comics, it is hard to feel as if there are any real consequences. Serialized tales often must maintain the status quo from issue to issue, so it is a rare treat for a comic to swing for the fences right out the gate. The battle that takes place between Generation Zero and the H.A.R.D. corps feels dire. The struggle for survival is palpable. Recurring characters are quickly killed unceremoniously. Think back to the movie Serenity by Joss Whedon. For those who remember, the major fight with the Reavers seems like your standard fare in action movies. However, the crushing moment when a fan favorite is killed charges the film with a sense of urgency. The similar effect is had in Renegades #5, and it makes for an immersive experience.
Issue #5 showcases the brutality of conflict. The gore level is high, yet it does not seem gratuitous. Two panels really stand out. The first panel is a headshot by a sniper; the other is seeing someone’s arm severed by gunfire. Both panels show gruesome visages, but they are necessary because conflict creates these images. The coloring also enhances the sense that something visceral is happening. It is easy to have powers represented by glowing bursts of color; however, the (please don’t take this the wrong way) way the blood is shown in this issue has a vibrancy that is hard to always get across. Meaning that it is just as important as the aura a character generates to produce psychic blasts.
It is so great to have Harbinger back from its hiatus. Though the regular cast did not appear, the stage has been set for their strong comeback. Their return marks a new bloody chapter in the Valiant universe, and I don’t know if we are ready for just how crazy things are going to get.