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Kickin’ It Old School: Harbinger #1

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It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another new edition of Kickin’ It Old School, our weekly column in which we look to the past and review books from the original Valiant universe! This week, I’ll be discussing Harbinger #1.

Harbinger #1

Published in January 1992
Written by Jim Shooter
Penciled by David Lapham
Inked by John Dixon
Colored by Janet Jackson & The Knobs

Key new characters
  • Pete- main protagonist, has telekinetic and mind control powers
  • Kris- his girlfriend, no powers
  • Weasel, Eel, and Lump- three kids from the Harbinger Foundation that have been sent to kill Pete
  • FaithZephyr- first to join Pete and Kris, power of flight
  • CharleneFlamingo- second to join Pete, power of fire
  • Torque- third to Jon the group, super strength

Synopsis

We start out with Pete and Kris flying in a car while being chased by a helicopter. While Pete brings the copter down to find out why they’re being pursued, he gets attacked by other people with powers who are out to kill him because he’s too dangerous. Pete takes control of the fight, but Eel uses her electric powers and causes an explosion, which Pete and Kris are able to escape.

Pete and Kris decide to intercept the letters that are being sent to the Harbinger Foundation to get more people with powers on their side. They first find Faith, who they doubt has powers, but Pete looks into her mind, triggering her latent powers. She joins them, becoming Zephyr, and they set off. While spending the night in a junkyard, Kris gets fed up with Faith, prompting Pete to use his mind control powers to make them cooperate. He realizes that it’s the wrong thing to do and gives up control. He earns the nick name “Sting” from Faith and a death threat from Kris.
The next day, Pete goes to a Harbinger foundation office to find information on more potential allies. Pete gets confronted while there and wrecks the place. He meets Charlene, who’s power over fire Pete unleashes as he did Faith’s. He brings her back to the group, prompting jealousy in Kris.

They set off to find Torque after Pete and Kris fight. After finding him, Pete doesn’t believe he has special powers, which furthers the fight between he and Kris. The rest go off with Torque, leaving Pete on his own. That night, jealousy between Kris and Charlene erupts in a fight, but Pete shows up in time to separate them. Pete thinks Torque is a spy for Harada. When he dives into his mind to find the truth, he learns that Torque is legit and unlocks his powers in the process. As soon as everybody calms down, the group is attacked by the Harbinger Foundation. They work together to fight them off, but Kris is seriously wounded in the process.

Review

This is Valiant’s first comic that isn’t based on an established character, and it’s obvious that they’re trying to hook people right away. There’s a ton of action and story progression in this one issue, but character development is obviously not a priority. All of the characters come off as pretty flat. Pete shows his immense powers, but no sense of the internal conflict that we get in the current version. Kris is Pete’s jealous girlfriend, casting about threats like nothing. Faith is just excited to be a superhero, but is lacking the genuine sweetness that Dysart gives her. Charlene is all sex and no substance. Torque is a meathead, although Pete does get a glimpse of the pain behind the muscle. All that being said, this was the 90’s and a new company with only two other books couldn’t afford to lose people on their first issue of completely original content. The relaunch of Valiant had the luxury of developing characters that had existed before.  This issue certainly has me excited to see what comes next!

Originally from ValiantCentral.com

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