A Look Back at Harbinger #5 (1992)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, Peter/Sting, Kris, Faith/Zephyr, Charlene/Flamingo and John/Torque plus Ax returned from space. Due to his traitorous act against them, Ax was dropped by the team with a sense of rejection. It turns out, months had passed by on Earth which really shocked Sting and his teammates.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #5, published in 1992 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Jim Shooter and Janet Jackson, and drawn by David Lapham.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on March 5, 1992 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sting, Fatih, Flamingo, Kris and Torque are on vacation together. With hours to spare before having a group dinner, the team decide to split up and have fun discovering the local places individually.

That evening, while having a nice dinner together, Kris notices Sting looking tense. Sting reveals that he senses the presence of Toyo Harada and moments later, he and his teammates saw the TV news about the terrible explosion on a building in Dallas, Texas.

Over at the airport in Dallas, Toyo Harada arrives from Louisiana. He and his personnel travel together to the site of the explosion…


Harada arrives in Dallas, Texas.

I really liked the story here. Without spoiling the plot, the writers crafted a tale about a major incident that affected not only Sting and his teammates but also the Harbinger foundation  (including Toyo Harada himself) and even Valiant’s major figure Solar. Along the way, the creative team slightly expanded the lore of Harbinger within Valiant’s shared comic book universe further (specifically through the Harbinger foundation) before the crossover with Solar happened.

The story started in a really interesting way. I really enjoyed the way Sting, Faith, Kris, Torque and Flamingo were portrayed when they were not doing any superhero-related stuff as they enjoyed their vacation New Orleans. That being said, I felt like I was watching scenes of American teenagers from the 1980s movies written or directed by John Hughes. The scene in which Faith surprised Torque in the city zoo was amusing and believable to read.


Flamingo, Kris, Torque and Faith on vacation in New Orleans.

With a fine balance of spectacle, characterization, exposition and the obvious crossover with Solar, Harbinger #5 (1992) is yet another solid Valiant comic book to read. The progression of the development of Sting and his teammates moved forward some more while simultaneously building up the presence of the Harbinger foundation as the most antagonistic non-military organization in the entire Valiant comic book universe of the era. This is a must-read!

Overall, Harbinger #5 (1992) is highly recommended!


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