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 #6
Published in June 1992
Written by Jim Shooter
Penciled by David Lapham
Inked by Gonzalo Mayo
Colored by Maria Beccari with Knob Row
We pick up where we left off in Harbinger #5. Solar is telling the Renegades not to fight Harada. Pete realizes that they can’t fight Harada and Solar. Harada realizes that they can’t fight the Renegades and Solar. So… they leave. Solar gives the kids another lecture before disappearing, leaving them to go right back after Harada.
Harada’s no dummy, though, and he has a trap waiting for the kids. He hits Pete with everything he’s got while Pete’s guard is down, and it’s still not enough to get the job done quickly. As Pete’s strength is worn down, Harada orders his men to keep a hail of bullets on Pete until he can’t shield himself any longer, and to kill him and Torque, who Harada deems too dangerous. Puff and Thumper can’t let the Renegade’s help go unrewarded, though, and they blindside Harada and help the kids escape.
After holing up for the night, Puff and Thumper take their leave of the Renegades, promising not to pass any information to Harada. This doesn’t do much good, though, and Harada is able to track them down and find out what the kids are planning. He has a group of Eggbreakers ambush the Renegades on their way back to New Orleans and a nasty battle ensues. Torque is blinded by one of Harada’s men and is shanked in the back by Rock while he can’t see. The Renegades call for an ambulance, but it’s just the Eggbreakers back to finish the job. Weasel drugs Torque before Pete figures out what’s going on, and it’s too late. Torque is gone.
It’s about time, Harbinger. It’s about time! This issue did a great job accomplishing the things that I’ve felt the prior issues fell short trying to do. Harada and the Renegades are violently going at each other. In the midst of things, all of the characters are more humanized. Torque playing fetch with Faith is my single favorite moment in this book thus far, and it did more to humanize him than was accomplished in every other issue combined. As a result, his apology to Charlene seems sincere and has more meaning. We also find out that Kris is pregnant, which adds a heavy dose of reality to her relationship with Pete. When they get attacked by the Eggbreakers, my first thought was for the safety of Kris and the baby.
Unfortunately, I already knew Torque was going to die. It’s hard to avoid spoilers for a book that came out over 20 years ago. I, however, didn’t know how. His death was gritty and violent, but not gratuitously so. It was so well executed that I found myself just getting caught up in the moment, pulling for his survival. It was beautifully executed, and I found myself sad for a character that I pretty much hated going into this issue. I went from looking forward to him dying and being removed from the story to being disappointed that we won’t know what type of person he could have become. After I finish issues 0 and 7, I’ll have to give those eight issues another read in one shot.
Originally from ValiantCentral.com