Flamingo is one of my favorite characters from the original Valiant. She’s right there in the top three with Bloodshot and Solar.
Each issue in the current “Renegade” arc is focusing on a different character:
- Issue 6: Kris Hathaway
- Issue 7: Charlene Dupre aka Flamingo
- Issue 8: John Torkelson aka Torque
- Issue 9: Faith Herbert aka Zephyr
- Issue 10: Pete Stancheck aka Sting
Issue 7 is the book I was most looking forward to, I want to see Flamingo back in action, doing her hot, fiery thing.
We get Charlene in this book. A lot of Charlene. Not just in terms of pages, but in terms of skin too. She is a stripper, after all, and Pete, Kris, and Faith first meet her in a strip club.
A lesser book might be a little exploitative about the amount of skin in this book, but this issue pulls that back, and even though it takes place in a strip club, it feels like they are showing just as much as is needed to tell the story. Charlene is a character who is defined by her surface, so showing this serves the storytelling.
The bulk of this story focuses on Charlene, how she got to where she is, and the bad turns her life has made, and have been made for her. Her entire life she, and others, have used her body as an asset. The book makes you understand Charlene and how she got to be who she is, and how that could make her willing to meet Pete and his bunch of Renegades.
The thing that most impressed me about this issue is that the tone of Charlene’s narration is unique. It feels different from the narration by Kris, and the narration by Pete. Flamingo has her own voice in this issue.
Like the issue before, that focused on Kris, this doesn’t wrap up Charlene’s story with a neat bow. Instead, it introduces her, who she is, and what has motivated her in life, and adds her to the mix with the rest of the Renegades. The Renegades themselves aren’t a perfect, happy family either. They have disagreements, personality differences, and different personalities that we see clashing with each other even in this issue, despite the focus on Charlene. This isn’t a perfect, harmonious group, and we get to see that in this issue. Even though the focus here is Charlene, the other kids don’t back down from being who they are. We still see Kris acting like Kris, Faith acting like faith, and Pete, well, being Pete. I don’t think Pete is exactly sure who he is and what he’s doing at this point in the game.
We also don’t just stick to the Renegades in this issue. After all, in issue 6, Kris tricked Project Rising Spirit into attacking Harada at the end of last issue. We get to see the continuation of this story thread as well.
I’ve got a true story to tell. I found out that Barry Kitson was gonna be drawing this issue down at Long Beach Comic Con. When I found out, I had a stunned look of surprise and excitement on my face, and Josh Dysart looked at me, put up his hand, and we high fived.
Barry Kitson’s art is great in this book. I’ve loved his art since I first saw it, from his work way back when on L.E.G.I.O.N. It doesn’t disappoint in this book. Luckily, Barry Kitson will be penciling The Harbinger Wars issues of Bloodshot, so we’ll see more of his awesome artwork soon.
There are a few pages of fill in art as well, Khari Evans is back to draw a few pages, and Lee Garbett helping as well. The split works, and the story finds great places to use everyone’s art. The different artists don’t interrupt the flow of the book. Having a couple pages by Khari does a great job of tying the story together, and making some of the events feel connected to previous events (which the scene in question certainly is).
So this issue didn’t wrap up everything. This didn’t add Charlene to the group of Renegades in a nice, neat way, to continue on with their adventures. Instead, it explained who Charlene is, and added her to the group of already mixed up kids. There’s nothing nice and neat about this group of Renegades, and that is all for the better. This book continues to be incredible.
I really just have one bone to pick with this book, something Harada says:
No one wants another Harbinger War
Yes we do, Harada, yes we do.
Here’s a nice preview for the book. Click on any image to launch the browser: