Toyo Harada seems smaller now.
In the first issue of Harbinger: Omegas, writer Joshua Dysart and artist Rafa Sandoval push the psychic billionaire into full-on supervillain mode. And between coming out as a psiot with a band of super-powered thugs on national TV and terrorizing the world, the man who slowly nudged the world for his own ends for most of the last century feels diminished – like something dangerous and scary that’s still a threat, but one that’s not recognizably human any longer.
I think that’s kind of the point with the book, which spins out of the main Harbinger series following the events of the “Death of a Renagade” arc which saw all of Harada’s plots exposed before the world, and the man himself revealed as the secret villain of the 20th and 21st centuries. So what does Harada do? Dysart and Sandoval basically allow Harada to come out completely here and let it all hang out: not only is he showing off his powers to control minds and ruthlessly destroy and kill, he’s doing it (for at least part of the book) using his normal appearance, casting aside the image of the young, healthy businessman for that of a balding old man.
So now we get to see the “true” Harada, and he’s just another monologuing thug with an agenda. Dysart gives him some hard words for the world, with Harada staking out a claim for his own morality (saying he’ll make the “horrendous choices” necessary to keep the world spinning), giving the Valiant universe it’s first public supervillain, its Dr. Doom or Magneto. Letting the villain loose like this also means that there’s no more of the way more interesting and protracted chess game between Harada and the world governments – while they’re probably still all distracted by the events of the Armor Hunters storyline running through several of the Valiant titles (the destruction of Mexico City gets mentioned here), at some point, they’ll have to go on the attack and just annihilate Harada, right?
I haven’t even touched on Peter – back where he started, on drugs again, and hiding in self-pity, or Kris who might now be a pawn to draw Peter out. Supers are a big, public thing in the Valiant universe and Dysart has really pushed the whole line in a new direction. How this impact will be felt in other books remains to be seen (I have to imagine Unity and the heavy-hitters there will have something to say about a guy declaring himself psychic king of the world).
While the storytelling possibilities might be rich going forward, though, Harada still seems diminished by the events here. That’s the one glaring flaw in this issue that hopefully, the rest of the mini will be able to address.