"Harbinger" #19 brings the imprisoned-in-VR storyline to a close, and for a lot of readers I suspect it's none too soon. Joshua Dysart, Barry Kitson, Brian Revel and Riley Rossmo wind things up here, but it's what's promised next that proves to look a little more interesting.
It's a relief to see the kids' imprisonment in Torquehalla come to an end; what was a funny idea for a few pages felt stretched out far too long, and even though it had a diminished role in "Harbinger" #19 it was unwelcome at this point. Some readers might get a minor chuckle at Torque's attempts to rewrite the world to save everyone, but even then the Kardashian Mermaids and the literal sea lions are just some one-panel gags that distract from the fact that the imprisoning storyline felt more like a stalling tactic than anything else.
That's a shame, because whenever the book shifted over to Monica, it ended up far more interesting. Her powers as Animalia have huge potential, and I know I can't be the only one hoping that she's a permanent member of the book's cast, now. She'd fit in well; while she's distinctly younger than the others, her powers being fueled by her subconscious echoes what we've seen with characters like Torque and Peter Stanchek. And while we're only getting a hint of just how bad it could truly be, the metaphorical and physical debris from Harada's mind squall ends up saying a lot about not just how dangerous Harada is, but Peter as well.
The big, important part of this issue appears to be on the final two pages. Kris's promise (relayed through Faith) should result in a huge shift of status quo for the title, and I like that. There's only so much of "renegades on the run" that "Harbinger" can handle before the book gets old, and if this plays out as promised, it would effectively do away with that aspect of the comic. It feels like a belated response to the big crossover from earlier this year, and if the follow-through happens then we could end up in some interesting territory that should spark readers' interests.
Kitson and company's art is all right but also nothing special. The pages have varying degrees of roughness, not quite as smooth or polished as one might be used to with Kitson. There are a few nice bits, like the smile and confident stance on Torque once he's figured out how to manipulate Torquehalla. And there's something amusing about how the two Krises stare at one another. But otherwise, nothing particularly stands out here. That's not necessarily a bad thing -- Kitson's storytelling is solid and it gets the job done -- but it also isn't the most visually exciting thing, either.
"Harbinger" #19 concludes a storyline that feels like it overstayed its welcome a great deal. It's a relief to see it come to a close, doubly so with the promise of what's to come. If the follow-through works, it could quickly push "Harbinger" back up to its earlier days of glory.