December 19, 2012

Reviews

Surfaces: Charlene Dupre – Harbinger 7 Review and Preview

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Flamingo is one of my favorite characters from the original Valiant. She’s right there in the top three with Bloodshot and Solar.

Harbinger 7 Variant Cover Emanuela Lupacchino

Harbinger 7 Variant Cover by Emanuela Lupacchino. Flamingo. Bam!

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

–Toyo Harada

Yes we do, Harada, yes we do.

Preview

Here’s a nice preview for the book. Click on any image to launch the browser:

7 Comments

  • Brandon P comments:

    Yeah, that comment definitely stuck out to me. Was he referencing something specific that I should know about or was it something that happened before Peter was in the picture?

    Great review!

  • @Brandon,

    I think Toyo was referencing something specific, but not something we are expected to know about yet. At the Valiant Panel at Long Beach Comic Con, Josh Dysart dropped a hint, saying that the Harbinger Foundation will find itself in an emergency, war-like situation, which hasn’t happened since the 1970s. Connecting the dots, I imagine there was some sort of big “Harbinger War” event that took place in the 70s.
    Sean recently posted..Sketchbook: No DirectionMy Profile

  • excellent writeup Sean i give it 5 out of 5 Harbytaimos

  • Teddy Z comments:

    This honestly was an incredible issue. My ex-girlfriend is a stripper and this issue could not have been more accurate about the struggles and situations she lives through, and what led her to her decisions. We have had a rough past together and this issue made me think of her because like Flamingo, I believe she has potential to become something greater than she currently is. Amazing character development, amazing realism, awesome ending. My favorite issue thus far.

  • By far the BEST issue from Valiant bar none! Between this an XO, Valiant is firing on all cilynders!

  • Hi Sean
    Just wanted to say ‘Thank you!’ for the kind words regarding my work!
    I am thoroughly enjoying being part of the Valiant experience I think the writing on all the titles has been wonderful and it has been an especially great experience working with Joshua – I hope we will do more together in the future!

  • @Barry,

    Thanks for stopping by! I was thrilled to find out you were gonna be drawing this issue, and it looks great.
    Sean recently posted..Sketchbook: No DirectionMy Profile

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