Thursday, January 8, 2015

Harbinger #14 (Classic Valiant)

Kris Hathaway, member of the superhuman Harbinger Renegades, has been having nightmares about the loss of her baby, and struggles to cope as they get worse and worse...

I can only imagine what was going through the minds of Harbinger's writers and/or editors that led to this issue's inception. After five issues (that is to say, five months), they must have realized that they really should be telling Kris' story about her losing her baby! It's about damn time!

This story paints a passable tale of a woman suffering from PTSD, and coming to terms from the loss of her baby...but then the ending ruins everything! Kris has a few dreams of Magnus, and in the final one, he talks to her, telling her to let him go, that she did the right thing, and that everything is right in the world. It's a decent conclusion, with Kris' unconscious making her feel at ease...but then the ending reveals that Peter mind-raped her to fix the problem! This would already be an annoyingly sexist solution if this was portrayed as an intentional negative that Peter does, but it never is! The writer seems to be under the impression that this is a happy ending!

The characters in this issue are barely used, with Kris taking centre stage. Her journey is ok, but is undercut by the ending, and the fact that she never has any character to her ever again in this series! The occupation she takes up at the end could have added a lot to Kris' character, and take her in an interesting direction, but aside from one mention in Issue #18, it's literally never brought up again.

The worst character is Pete, for the reason I discussed above, and another moment at the start of the issue, where he very angrily chews Faith out for using her powers to help out a kid in the park, on the grounds that she could expose the Renegades to the world. Says the guy who transports his team around cities in a flying car, in broad daylight! Dickweed!

The art here is decent, while the cover is a bit blank, and I have no idea why it's trying to emulate La Pieta given what the story's about. The biggest problem with this issue next to the ending is the panel sizes. Almost every page has only three to two panels, and there's a grand total of three splash pages! It's ridiculous!

Despite being one of the best written issues of Harbinger so far, the ending to this story makes for a loathsome issue...

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