While the Renegades adapt to their new mobile life, Toyo Harada’s backstory is fleshed out more. Harbinger Wars continues in HARBINGER #11. What connection does Harada, head of the Harbinger Foundation, have with Project Rising Spirit? Will the Renegades rise to the call and aid the group of newly freed psychic children? Or will policing themselves be challenge enough?
We begin with a flashback to 1969, where a younger Toyo Harada meets to discuss a business deal with Rising Spirit Securities. This would of course be the same company known in the relative present as Project Rising Spirit, and it’s here we learn PRS has been around since the 19th century. The nature of the deal proposed by PRS is simple: a trade of resources for research. The Harbinger Foundation began as a company making massive inroads into technology, and with the help of Project Rising Spirit, it could leap ahead decades in the aerospace field. Of course, much of this scene is centered around the competing ideologies of Harada (who sports a trench coat and hat reminiscent of the Phantom Stranger) and the then-director of PRS.
This scene also serves two other important purposes. One, to establish that PRS not only has the technology to shield against telepathy, but they’ve had it for some time. And two, to reinforce an idea that’s sort of been rattling in my brain about Harada as a character for a while now. Harada, in all of his power (or rather because of it), is not accustomed to resistance. He’s had the benefit of both his own immense psychic powers, and the clairvoyance and precognition of the Bleeding Monk. As such, he’s been able to easily steamroll through potential problems while engineering means of preventing anyone from knowing of his activities. He’s had these advantages since childhood, and they’ve made him great.
Imagine then, how utterly incensed he must be at his present difficulties, none of which exactly have easy solutions. Behind that veneer of old-fashioned composure, his reaction to something like Peter Stanchek, a person with as much psychic potential as himself but with none of the compunction to follow “the rules of the game” as it were, is very much akin to that of a petulant child. This puts all of his arrogance and bursts of temper into perspective.
Meanwhile, Peter’s group is doing what any collection of youths would do if they had limitless psychic power and nothing better to do: get drunk and cause bar fights. To be fair, it’s mostly just Torque doing the fighting, and the fighting itself consists of heckling a muscular wheelchair guy, smashing a record player, and passing out.
Because even though the form he projects is muscular and built like a brick crap house, underneath it all he’s a ninety pound shrimp with barely any body mass to speak of.
Besides being a character moment for Torque, this sequence establishes that they Renegades can’t go around willy nilly, causing property damage and depending on mind wipes to cover their tracks. That, and Peter actually gets around to telling his friends about how the Bleeding Monk wants him to save the children freed from PRS control. Thereby raising the very valid question of not only whether they’re going to do it or not, but also what it is they intend to do with themselves in general. What are they doing? What’s their goal besides drive around and party at the expense of innocent people?
A question that’s especially important to Faith. It’s kind of hard to maintain the ideal of being on a group of superheroes when they’ve done exactly nothing heroic.