Graphic Novel Review 55/365: Harbinger – Valiant Comics Week!

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days!

I will end (this) Valiant Comics Week with the only Valiant title that I have a classroom set.

Title: Harbinger   

Author(s): Joshua Dysart, Khari Evans, Lewis Larosa, and Ian Hannin

Publisher: Valiant Comics (2012)

Age Rating: 13+

Teenager Peter Stanchek is a very powerful psiot (term to indicate a mutant of sorts, but that term is copy-written by another comic book company (wink)).  He is sought after by Toyo Harada and the Harbinger Foundation due to his phenomenal skill set…he is quite possibly the most dangerous psiot alive.

Peter, however, starts our story as a homeless kid, taking drugs to ease the literal voices in his head, since he can hear everyone’s thoughts and does not yet know how to control them, Peter and a friend seek solace in prescription drugs and running from life and the law.

Eventually picked up by the Harbinger Foundation and tossed into a school for the gifted sort of situation, Peter rebels, leaving everyone to question whether he is as powerful and valuable as they think he is.

So, why harbinger for the classroom?

I think there are some themes present in this book that hit home for teenagers, opening up some amazing opportunities for discussion.  Peter basically has unlimited power.  What does one do with that responsibility?  Early in the book, he mentally tricks a girl into loving him, and he has sex with her.  This situation alone has sparked some discussion about responsibility that are hard to replicate with other works.  The panel layouts and art are straightforward enough to allow the teaching of this book with kids that might not have a ton of experience with comics or graphic novels.  This book is also a fairly good introduction to the Valiant Universe.  Last school year, this book hooked many of my students into the Valiant Universe, and like I said with RAI yesterday, Valiant is cool because, like a band with a lot of albums that you have just discovered, there is a lot of media to ingest and share with comic friends that you may have.

Check this one out.  I’m curious to know what you think.  I know some teachers that wouldn’t touch this book with a ten-foot pole.  I don’t get that fully, but it’s a cool debate.  Let’s chat!

Happy Reading!

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