Harmony v2 by Matthieu Reynes cover detail

Where It All Began: Harmony, v2: “Indigo”

Writer: Mathieu Reynes
Artist: Mathieu Reynes
Colorist: Valerie Vernay and Mathieu Reynes
Lettering: Calix Ltd.
Translator: Montana Kane
Published by: Dargaud/Europe Comics
Number of Pages: 58
Original Publication: 2016

 

The Plot Twists Back in Time

Harmony was a cute little kid a few years ago, at the start

Good news!  We’re getting some answers already!

This volume takes place in the years and months leading up to volume 1, which I reviewed a few months back.  We get to see where Harmony came from, where those voices in her head are coming from, who Nita (her “captor”) is, and more about her powers.

Payne and Eden don't contact Harmony at first, though Eden really wants to.....

It’s fun to see how the plot pieces fit together.  Reynes is telling the story now from the other side of it, and seeing how it all mixes together is the satisfaction of this volume.  If you’ve read “Alter Ego,” (I’ve reviewed volume 1 and volume 2 so far of that series) you’re familiar with this type of storytelling.  It’s not quite the same, but it feels similar: telling the same story from different perspectives, and enjoying the surprises at where they link together. “Harmony” moves more across time than people, but there’s still movement there.

You don’t have all your questions answered after this book, but you get most of them taken care of.  You will want to go back to volume 1 to reread it after this one now.  Getting to see both sides of those conversations Harmony had with the voices inside her head makes sense now, and ties the two volumes together, chronologically.

By the end of this second book, you get a complete segment of the overall story, from both sides.

It’s very satisfying, and well constructed.

 

More Plot Driven

The first book centered completely on Harmony.  It was all about her waking up, with amnesia, and trying to figure out who she is and what she’s doing in that strange guy’s basement.  Mathieu Reynes’ storytelling is very cinematic in that book, concerned with showing isolated moments and showing you the story through Harmony’s struggles with who she is and what’s going on around her.

This second volume is much broader. It’s completely plot-driven, as Reynes needs to movie the pieces around the board not only to fit into the first book’s plot structure, but also to introduce the Big Bad Guys, what they’re doing and why, as well as two new kids with similar powers to control.  Tensions ramp up, the drama becomes both a mind game and a physical one, and everyone is scheming behind everyone else’s back, one way or another.

The difference between these two books is as great as the change between the horror of “Alien” and the sci-fi action piece that is “Aliens.”

 

New People

The series shows us a scientific research project that goes horribly awry. Originally meant to test children, more ruthless private military/industry types take over the project.  Suddenly, the three carefully chosen kids who are being cared for and tested need to show some results.

The three kids get an exposition dump to explain their powers of clairvoyance, telekinetics, and telepathy

They are in training for powers like telekineses, telepathy, and clairvoyance, and are expedited to provide a return on the investment.  But they’re still kids, not military recruits.  The hard-headed take-no-prisoners trainer will stop at nothing to get them to prove themselves, including threats of isolation and harm to the others in the group.

In a way, he’s right.  By pushing themselves, they discover just how powerful they are.  But are they wearing themselves too thin in the process?

Joining a younger Harmony in this chapter of the story are Payne and Eden.  Eden is a younger, more fragile character capable of seeing and speaking to others across distances using her mind.  Payne is the middle child, filled with a little more confidence and attitude, and capable of one way telepathy, basically.  He can only receive signals.

The three become a close knit family, and likely the only one they’ve ever know. They’ve been chosen from a recruiting pool of other orphans and street kids.  Those are easier to test on, after all.

It is truly a satisfying moment anytime the chlidren rise against their captors (effectively), even when it doesn’t always work out.

We also get to see where Harmony’s letter came from in the first book, and what the addressee’s life was like before everything went to hell for him, too.

 

Loving the Colors

The colors of Harmony, including blurs, glows, and watercolor textures

Valerie Vernay and Reynes color the book, and I love it.  It’s slick and uses some Photoshop tricks, but they really work.

In the panel above, you can see how her eyes glow, how the closing door behind her blurs, and how the overall coloring scheme has a digital watercoloring look to it.

When Harmony starts to use her powers and her eyes glow blue, it pops off the page in a way that’s believable.  The sickly green walls of the institute the kids are living in contrast nicely with the warmer tones outside.

But, most of all, it keeps everything clear, even in monochromatic scenes.

 

Dangling Plot Lines

That opening bit in the first volume that showed people in ancient times displaying similar powers to what the kids have in this book? It’s not touched on at all  in the second volume. I trust Reynes will bring it up again at some point, though I can’t help but think that the whole thing is unnecessary to the overall story.  I expect to be proven wrong at some point in the future.

At the same rate, I’m over legacy powers that have to be traced back hundreds or thousands of years, or to some race of gods that once walked the earth. I’d be fine if Reynes never tugged at that thread again.

 

Recommended?

Harmony v2 by Matthieu Reynes cover

Yes! Unless you didn’t like the first book at all, in which case you probably have no interest. I won’t try to convince you.

Otherwise, it’s a good companion piece to the first volume, with interesting characters placed in difficult circumstances.  The story is told in a dramatic way, and the mysteries yet to be revealed will carry me onto the next volume.  The last panel in this book is a delicious cliffhanger that I can’t wait to see explode in the next book.

Volume 3 of the series is out now in English, happily enough. Excuse me now while I go read it…

(This is Pipeline BD 100 review #104.)

 

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1 Comment

  • Harmony v3: "Ago" - Pipeline Comics December 18, 2017 at 6:43 am

    […] 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 […]

    Reply

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