Valiant Comics is no stranger to complex, dynamic female characters, and in Rafer Roberts and Darick Robertson’s new Harbinger Renegade series, one of the team’s original members steps into a new leadership position. Kris Hathaway, the brains behind the Harbinger Renegades, is now the formal leader of the superteam. But that’s not all.
Harbinger Renegade #1 will also reveal a previously unexplored facet of Kris’s personal life: She’s a lesbian. Fresh out of prison, Kris is now living with her girlfriend, Tamara, who will also become a central new member of the team. This makes Kris the first openly LGBTQ leader of a major superteam in comics — something we have yet to see in Marvel’s The Avengers or DC’s Justice League. Here’s a preview of Kris and Tamara’s relationship in Harbinger Renegade #1, exclusively on MTV News:
“It was something that was hinted at in the original Harbinger run by Josh Dysart,” Roberts told MTV News. “You could see the progression of Kris — her hero’s journey — in the first Harbinger run, and she got to have her emotional, journey of self-discovery. I wanted to expand on that. So this just felt right, that she should have some happiness in her life after so much tragedy, and it felt right that Tamara was the person who would help her overcome everything that she had lost and help her put the pieces back together.”
Roberts feels his interpretation of Kris was a natural progression of the character first established in 1992. His only goal was to “dive deeper” and bring more of her to the surface.
“I wasn’t thinking of it as this milestone — I just saw them as two characters who loved each other, and I tried to write them as realistically and as true to their characters as possible,” he said. “They are great characters to write together.”
Roberts has a multiyear journey planned for Kris, and it starts with getting the Renegades — Kris Hathaway, John “Torque” Torkelson, Faith “Zephyr” Herbert, and Peter Stanchek — back together again following the aftermath of the previous series written by Dysart. Kris is in an especially rough place. Having just spent time in prison for exposing the “psiots” to the world, she’s not looking to rush into anymore trouble — even with psionically powered harbingers growing up and into their powers in a world that doesn’t accept or care to understand them.
Harbinger Renegade is a book about a group of broken people trying to put their lives back together and make things right — and it all starts with getting Kris back onboard. (We can thank the team’s resident optimist, Faith, for that.)
“Kris has always been the leader of the team,” Valiant Editor-in-Chief Warren Simons told MTV News. “She’s really the heart. She’s essential to the team. They move in the direction that she wants to move in, whereas Faith is our moral compass. She’s the moral backbone of our universe. She believes in doing what’s right, so they have this nice dichotomy.”
“It takes a little while for her to realize her potential as leader of the group,” Roberts added. “She, more than anybody, has had a rough go of things following the first series, and it’s going to take her a little while to overcome the hardships that she’s gone through. Once she sees how much the world needs her and how much the world needs the Renegades, she’ll begin to embrace a natural leadership role in the group.”
As for Kris’s new look, Roberts describes it as indicative of her desire to start over. “Also, she looks awesome,” Roberts added.
“We’ve always looked at the Valiant universe as a reflection of the world that we live in,” Simons said. “It’s diverse because that’s what the world looks like, and we can tell stories about that world. It’s part of the DNA of the universe.”
Harbinger Renegade #1 is available now.