It’s Friday, 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 #5.
Published in May 1992
Written by Jim Shooter and Janet Jackson
Penciled by David Lapham
Inked by John Dixon
Colored by Maria Beccari
The Renegades are on vacation in New Orleans, ‘cause why not? Having a logical connection from issue to issue takes effort, so why bother? While the rest of the gang are checking out zoos and art exhibits, Pete is trying to hone in on Harada and finds him in Texas. Harada is trying to avert disaster as one of his Eggbreakers, Puff, has lost control of his powers, killing and hurting many. Harada’s lapse in concentration allows Pete to get a glimpse of where he’s heading, and the Renegades apparently hijack a plane to take them there.
In Dallas, Harada struggles to help Puff regain control of his powers, although he is willing to terminate Puff if he cannot regain control. Meanwhile, the Renegades are storming his research facility and Solar is trying to get there through the phone lines, since he’s apparently too lazy at the moment to travel there as light. The Renegades get in and cause a mess. Zephyr seriously injures one of Harada’s men. Thumper gets pissed because she has feelings for Puff and doesn’t want to see him die, so she begins attacking everybody. Torque realizes that the weights she has strapped to her are what put the oomph in her blows, so he rips them off and attempts to kill her, before being stopped by Pete. Apparently being punched in the face is reason enough to rip somebody’s throat out.
In the midst of all this madness, Harada flees, leaving Puff on the ground, struggling with his powers. As long as he is levitated, be can’t cause any damage, so Pete lifts him back in the air. The phone starts ringing, so Kris answers, allowing Solar to come through the phone line and lend a hand. Pete is able to transfer Solar’s understanding of controlling his powers into Puff’s mind to help him get a grip on his powers again. Before Solar can chastise Pete too long for the invasion of privacy, Harada shows back up to throw down against his two most powerful enemies.
This issue is better than the last one overall, but still disappointing. Two things are starting to stand out in Harbinger, the cheesiness and the misogyny. In this issue, Torque gets violent with Faith and threatens to rip her face off. If they’re going to have him act this way because of his past, they have to address the issue, not just gloss over it. Later on, Torque rips Thumper’s clothes apart, smacks her across the room, then grabs her to rip her throat out. Yeah, she was just attacking him and threatening to kill Torque and his friends, but the whole presentation of Torque’s counterattack is just wrong! Once again, nothing is addressed and everything moves on. I’m amazed that this title has found a way to make a violent fight between super powered humans feel like domestic abuse. Five issues in, and Harbinger can’t seem to develop its characters. C’mon, Shooter.
Originally from ValiantCentral.com