It’s Wednesday, 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 #8
Published in August 1992
Story by Jim Shooter and David Lapham
Written by Jim Shooter
Penciled by David Lapham
Inked by Gonzalo Mayo
Colored by Maria Beccari with Knob Row
Lettered by George Roberts, Jr. and Jade
Edited by Don Perlin
Pete and the Renegades are staying with Doctor Heyward and his family after the death of Torque. Kris asks his wife, Monique, questions about being pregnant. When she owns up to being pregnant to Monique and Flamingo and says she’s considering an abortion, Flamingo makes it clear that she knows the baby is Torque’s. Just moments later, Geoff McHenry shows up to take them to the Lost Land to aid Solar in the fight against Erica Pierce.
Once there, the fight starts right away and Solar goes off to the tower to fight Erica. Pete scans for his mind and discovers that Solar is dead. With Solar out of the way, Pierce’s forces come heavily at the rest of the group, and the Renegades retreat. Pete finds out that Kris is pregnant and he assumes the baby is his. They go into hiding until Pete’s able to locate Geoff, and he insists on being taken back to Earth. Geoff says that he can’t do that without Solar’s powers and they are suddenly attacked by a group of robots. Flamingo and Zephyr jump in to help, when Pete suddenly drags them away, refusing to join in the fight against Erica or to let any of his crew do so.
Three months into Unity, the Renegades are still hiding out when Magnus tracks them down and finally convinces Pete to aid in the fight, only asking him to shield them with his powers from a safe distance while they mount an attack. That night, Pete finds out that the baby is Torque’s by entering Kris’ mind while she sleeps, and he loses it. He goes out and starts tearing the Lost Land up. Erica shows up and gives him a blast. He returns it with an attack that he assumes will kill her. When he realizes she’s still alive, he knows he’s in trouble and he gets nearly killed by her last attack. Magnus and Aric show up in time to save Pete. Erica splits as soon as they show up because she was badly damaged by Pete’s attack. Back with Kris, she and Pete make up.
This issue definitely highlights how young and inexperienced the Renegades are. Pete’s response to finding out that Kris is pregnant is to only think of protecting Kris and the baby. He forces Flamingo and Zephyr to stay out of the fight, but only for selfish reasons, expecting them to constantly stand guard over Kris. Even when he is made to understand the gravity of the situation, that there will be no home to go back to if Erica wins, he only begrudgingly agrees to help
One other thing that jumped out at me in this issue is Flamingo’s seeming comfort with being abused. Before Pete finds out the truth, she tries to seduce him. After he finds out, he lashes out at her, and she tells him to go ahead and kill her if it would make him feel better. This line bothers me, as has the continued use of violence towards women in this comic. There is nothing contradicting Charlene’s sentiment that it is acceptable to be abused to make other people feel better.
Originally from ValiantCentral.com