The Renegades, counterclockwise from top-left to right: Zephyr, Torque, Peter, Kris, Flamingo
Kris: "What if God could be taught to be a better person?"
Most people are normals. A few people are born with the potential to be 'psiots', developing superpowers under very specific conditions. And a very, very few people are naturally activated psiots, born with powers. One of them, telepathic, telekinetic teenager Peter Stanchek, falls in with a number of newly activated psiots and one normal, and together they hit the road to make the world a better place/stick it to the man/drink heavily and party. Originally published by Valiant Comics
in the 1990s, it was rebooted and relaunched in 2012.
Tropes associated with the relaunched Harbinger include:
- Acrofatic: Faith is extremely light on her feet, thanks to her flight powers.
- Ascended Fangirl: Faith/Zephyr was a comic and sci-fi geek before gaining actual superpowers.
- A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Peter spends all day bombarded with an endless stream of inane thoughts. The only way to shut them up is to drug himself.
- Animorphism: Monica, one of the children from Project Rising Spirit, can sort of do this (she's actually creating a hard-light image around herself.) Because of her youth and sheltered upbringing, all she knows is cartoon animals. They're still deadly.
- Big Damn Heroes: Zephyr, a major fan of the Trope Namer, rescues the others from heavily armed Project Rising Spirit forces despite her lack of real offensive (or defensive) powers.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: Torque, due to his actual body weight being about a third of what it looks like.
- Charm Person: At their least invasive, Peter's powers are this.
- Code Name: Played with, as the main characters who use code names had them become they got their superpowers. Zephyr was a screen name, Flamingo was a stage name, and Torque was a fantasy wish-fulfillment character.
- Creepy Child: Darpan. The fact that he's also a Cheerful Child makes him even creepier. According to Kris, Peter was one of these when he was younger.
- Cursed with Awesome: A significant amount of psiot powers have major negative effects. Peter's is the most prominent, but there's also Hive (can download other minds into his own; it's progressively driving him crazy), Isiah (has an impenetrable force field around him which he can't turn off; fortunately he apparently doesn't need to breathe, eat, or go to the bathroom) and Baxter (his mind conjures up a vicious killer boogeyman he can't control). It's probably not that much fun to be The Bleeding Monk, either, though it's not clear how the bleeding is related to his powers.
- Five-Man Band: The Renegades
- Groin Attack: The first thing Flamingo does with her newly activated fire powers is to roast her abusive boyfriend's chestnuts.
- Hypnotize the Princess: Peter impulsively uses his mind control powers to make Kris fall in love with him. Unusually for a protagonist's use of a love spell, the ugly implications, and Kris' subsequent feelings of violation and anger, aren't glossed over.
- Inspector Javert: Agent Tull. Due to having his mind repeatedly erased by Peter, there's not much left of him outside of his relentless pursuit. He openly acknowledges that Peter is now his whole life, and that he isn't sure what will become of him when the chase ends. Possibly a subtle intentional allusion, as later in the same scene he's contemplating the stars.
- Just Like Robin Hood: Kris' justification for robbing banks, though they don't quite get around to the 'give to the poor' part. It doesn't help that Flamingo and Torque are perfectly content to do nothing but party and hang out in fancy hotels.
- Meaningful Name: Faith tends to trust and see the good in other people; Kris points out in-universe that her name is appropriate.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Peter's reaction once he realizes the magnitude of what his mind control has done to Kris.
- Mind Rape: Peter does this to the the woman responsible for killing Joe, mentally trapping her forever in a padded cell with a copy of him. Oddly, other people who get near her can visit the cell and interact with the copy as well.
- Not So Different: Kris frets over the morality of using Peter's powers to rob banks—not because of any objection to stealing, but because she worries that by manipulating people's minds, she's doing the same thing that was done to her. She concludes that simply making people forget a few minutes of time probably isn't equivalent, but isn't at all sure.
- Oh, Crap: Flamingo's reaction to a synaptic grenade rolling up about three inches from her face.
- Older Than They Look: Toyo Harada was a child during World War II, but uses his powers to appear as a man in his forties.
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations: A visibly nervous Peter invites Charlene (Flamingo) to his motel room, talking about how he's unsure about "this next part" and hesitantly asking if it's okay to touch her. She thinks they're about to have sex, but he's actually preparing to activate her latent powers.
- Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: Anyplace downhill or downstairs from the Bleeding Monk is going to be a mess sooner or later.
- Shout-Out: The cover of the first issue shows Peter and a large number of thought bubbles, representing him reading surrounding passerby's thoughts. One of these thought bubbles reads "there's always money in the banana stand".
- Stock Superpowers:
- Technopath: Livewire.
- The Cape: Zephyr. She's the only one of the main five who genuinely thinks of herself as a superhero, with the responsibilities that entails. Occasionally this causes some friction with the others.
- Viva Las Vegas: During the Harbinger Wars arc. Despite Archer And Armstrong visiting Vegas at the same time in their own series, taking place in the same universe, the two groups don't meet.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Toyo Harada. He's genuinely convinced that the world would be better off with him as its absolute dictator, and is willing to do whatever it takes to bring that about.