Harmony v3 by Mathieu Reynes cover detail

Harmony v3: “Ago”

Writer: Mathieu Reynes
Artist: Mathieu Reynes
Colorist: Valerie Vernay and Mathieu Reynes
Lettering: Calix Ltd.
Translator: Montana Kane
Published by: Dupuis/Europe Comics
Number of Pages: 58
Original Publication: 2017

 

Remember how I mentioned in my review of the second volume of this series that we had thankfully completely forgotten about those people from 4000 years ago?

Guess who the third volume opens up with?

Yup.

 

4000 Years Back to the Future

In the third volume, writer and artist Mathieu Reynes starts to connect the dots of current day events in the series to what was going on 4000 years ago.

Why?  This book is the end of the first cycle of “Harmony.”  Given the way things go down in this book, it’s obvious that the ancient ones are going to be involved in a major way in the next cycle.  That’s what Reynes is going for.

These initial three volumes are about the kids discovering their powers and asserting themselves. The next cycle will likely be about some paranoid conspiracy/secret society thing that they’ll have to learn about and decide whether to fight or join.

 

But First — !

The kids are reunited at the “training facility”, and we start a few moments before that, even, to see how Harmony returned.  It was clear from the last teaser that she did it of her own accord.  This volume shows us how that came about.

Meanwhile, things are going bad in upper management for the project, as the kids keep disappearing, revolting, and being all together miserable towards the plan’s Key Performance Indicators.

Harmony v3, when the kids take action.

Desperate measures are utilized, on all sides. It doesn’t end pretty.

And then the kids take action.

 

Together

This is the book that brings all of the characters from the first two books together into one larger story.  Everyone is in play here, and everyone takes action against an opponent or two (or five).

It’s great to see people taking control for themselves and rising up against the people who’ve been holding them down so far. Even better, this is done in creative and often brutal ways.  We see the personalities taking over, but we also witness new uses of powers and new strengths of powers.

The main three characters still need to be fleshed out, though.  Their characters are based strictly on the powers they hold and the situation that’s gotten them in.  We don’t see much about how that impacts their relationships with authority figures or each other.  They act out, but we don’t get too deep a portrayal.  That’s a space issue, for sure. Even in three albums, there’s been so much action and reaction that including that kind of characterization would be difficult to fit in.

I hope Reynes takes a few moments in the next cycle to give the characters a little time and space to show the readers who they are, and how each is different.

Harmony's Mahopmaa is the secret weapon in the book.

The surprise star of the book turns out to be Mahopmaa.  She’s the underestimated power with a cute cuddly ferocious big dog. But she also has a vicious naive sense of humor and always has the right one-liner.

 

The (Mostly) Good and Bad of the Art

Mathieu Reynes uses photoreference

Reynes’ art has some softer spots in this book. There’s one or two backgrounds that are photo traced outright.  An overhead shot of a busy highway is so close to its original picture that I almost wonder if it was created entirely by taking a stock photo and doing an edge filter on it, then lightly coloring it in.  When I first turned the page to this half page (seen above), I thought it was a photograph.

His art shines whenever the characters use their powers.  He gets in deep with those moments, which can often take up half the page. When the debris flies and the characters hold their strongest poses, you get the most memorable and badass scenes in the book.

 

Reynes spares no ink line in drawing blast lines and falling rubble.  The coloring works well with it, too.  Some of it is in the special blurs and glows the powers require, but it’s more that just that. Even in the mundane talking heads pages, the coloring is opinionated and interesting.  It keeps things interesting visually, and holds your interest.  When powers are being used, the colors get bright and more primary.  During outdoors nighttime scenes, the monochromatic looks helps make the book feel dark, while keeping it easy to read.

 

 

Recommended?

Harmony v3 cover by Mathieu Reynes

This is a stylish thriller with heroes you want to root for.  Reynes’ art is beautiful to look at, with an obvious tinge of manga influence added into his European album sensibilities. It fuses well, particularly with the color work he does with Valeria Vernay.

On the other hand, I’m a bit leery of the connection to the characters from 4000 years ago.  Legacy storylines often seem forced to me.  After three volumes of the book, we’ve been through a complete cycle and haven’t gotten all that far. Lots of stuff has happened, but it feels like two albums’ worth of story in three albums.  Get rid of all that legacy stuff, let the story stand on its own, and I think it would be a nice compact three album series with room for more characterization to explore the main characters more.

I’d still recommend this book and the rest of the series, even with those caveats.  The enjoyment is in the reading and later rereading of all the albums to get all the story points straight.  It’s not homework to do that. You’ll be continuously impressed with how tight the story is, even if at the time it might appear too aloof or too obfuscated for its own sake.

(This is Pipeline BD 100 review #105.)

 

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3 Comments

  • Arcturus December 19, 2017 at 3:31 am

    After this review I really want to read this, sounds a lot like my cup of coffee

    Reply
    • Arcturus December 19, 2017 at 4:32 am

      Sorry for the double post but I don’t think there’s an “edit” button

      I don’t mean to say the other reviews weren’t good but things like “personalities take over” and “heroes you want to root for” really catch my interest

      Reply
      • Augie December 19, 2017 at 11:41 am

        No worries — and sometimes it takes a couple of books in a series for the series to make sense. I think that might show up in my reviews sometimes, too. =)

        Reply

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