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 #3.
Published in March 1992
Written by Jim Shooter
Penciled by David Lapham
Inked by John Dixon
Colored by Janet Jackson, Maria Beccari & Jorge Gonzalez
Pete and team leave Doctor Heyward’s house to go to Washington to get help hacking into Harada’s computer. They find Ax, who they found on a Compu-Serve bulletin board, and who turns out to be a totally obnoxious jerk. He can’t break into the files, so Peter pokes around in his head, which unlocks his abilities to communicate with electronics. They all go to investigate the E.T. landing sites that they found in the encrypted files and decide to allow Ax to come with them.
They end up in Olympic National Park and discover electronics hidden inside of trees. While they’re discussing the possibilities, they’re attacked by spider aliens. They work together to defeat their attackers and Ax finds a device that unveils a huge space ship. They all board the space ship and Ax, while poking around at the controls, triggers the auto-pilot which sets them on a path to the moon. When they arrive at the moon, they discover a base. As they depart the ship, they are quickly gassed and knocked unconscious.
Ax wakes Zephyr and tells her that the aliens need his help to build a ship that can take them home, and he convinced them to let him keep a companion. Zephyr is disgusted by him and removes the equipment that is keeping Peter sedated. Ax tries to stop her, but Peter is freed and uses his powers to knock Ax unconscious. They free the rest, but they run into their captors, Rexo and the spider aliens. The team is quickly subdued as Flamingo stands at the side, too scared to attempt to help. Pete keeps begging her for help, but she’s too afraid. She cowers and begs Ax to keep her as a companion, but it’s a ploy to get close enough to burn him. The final panel shows Rexo commanding the aliens to kill her as Ax writhes on the ground in pain and Charlene is ablaze.
I found this to be a rather abrupt jump into another story line. The first two books felt like the first half of an arc, and now they feel left behind as the team meets new foes to face rather than continuing against Harada. Once again, the character development felt weak, which is probably pronounced in my eyes because Joshua Dysart has done such an amazing job with character building in the current Harbinger titles. Ax is obnoxious, but it’s forced rather than developed, so I just feel like I want the character to go away, rather than wanting to see him get his come-uppance.
Charlene’s character is brought along more in this issue than it has been thus far, though, which is nice. Torque still needs some development, but it’s starting to get to the point where I can feel connected to this team to at least some extent.
Rexo, the paraplegic man in a robot body, is an interesting foe. With all the technology at his command, he can really challenge the team. The spider aliens just feel like minions in this book. In Solar and X-O, they feel much more menacing, but here they are just Rexo’s grunts. Finally, I really wish they would coin a term for themselves. I’m dying to call them the Renegades, like in the current Valiant, or at least psiots, but they haven’t used a term for what they are yet, and it’s driving me nuts! Faith even brought it up in the last issue. They need a name, and I’m hoping it comes soon.
Originally from ValiantCentral.com