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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 and his teammates took a vacation together in New Orleans, Louisiana. That vacation was immediately cut short when Peter senses the presence of their deadliest rival Toyo Harada who himself was present in the same city before he traveled to Dallas, Texas to attend to an emergency. That incident in Texas eventually caught the attention of Peter, Faith, Kris, Flamingo and Torque who eventually encountered Solar.
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #6, published in 1992 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Jim Shooter and drawn by David Lapham.
The story begins 12:41 AM of March 6, 1992 at the sub-basement of the Harbinger Foundation’s building in Texas. Toyo Harada and his armed personnel cornered the group of Sting and Solar with Harbinger’s own Puff and Thumper standing nearby.
Sting’s team are clearly not in tandem with Solar in the conflict with Harada. Solar finds Sting a dangerous and irresponsible person. Realizing that Solar is indeed a very powerful figure that he could not bring down mentally, Sting decides that their team should abandon their goal of defeating Harada. After Solar tells the powered teenagers to move out, Harada decides to let them all go even though their sides fought with each other.
After flying away from the facility altogether, Sting’s team and Solar have a small discussion. After trying to make Sting, Faith, Flamingo, Kris and Torque realize their recklessness and their ill-conceived goal of defeating Harada, Solar leaves them by vanishing. Sting then decides that they resume their quest to go back and defeat Harada…
Now that build-up of plot and character development in the previous issue have been established, the story here works as a major pay-off complete with twists and turns that I found compelling and intriguing to read. For one thing, this story has lots of superhero action and for the first time in this particular monthly series, the lead characters have really been pushed to the edge and became truly vulnerable as the Harbinger foundation unleashed its might against Sting and his teammates. Fortunately, the action did nothing to overwhelm the narrative which remained solidly written. This is not a brainless form of superhero entertainment but rather a progressive development of the Sting’s team just as Harada’s force became a tremendous opposition towards them.
The crossover with Solar was noticeably short but every moment the said major character had in this comic book was wisely executed by the team of Shooter and Lapham. Solar did not just appear to showcase his powers as he tries to talk sense with Sting and team while showing restraint on dealing with powerful figures like Harada. That being said, Solar’s dialogue with Sting and the team is very insightful and the words expressed easily reminded me that Sting, Faith, Kris, Torque and Flamingo themselves are guilty of crime (note: look what they did in issue #2) and are bad like Harada. I can also state that this comic book will make you speculate if Sting and his teammates have been consumed by evil or have decided to become evil while believing in their survival and their goal of defeating the Harbinger foundation’s leader.
Furthermore, this comic book has very notables twists with its storytelling and the action presented. Those you must see by getting a copy of this comic book!
If there is anything to be said about Harbinger #6 (1992), it is the fact that Jim Shooter and David Lapham did not let the high quality storytelling down a bit, not even for a second. The continued progression of the main characters, the further emphasis on the danger the Harbinger foundation has against them kept growing, and other elements established in this particular comic book series just kept getting deeper and more intriguing to read. In addition, the boundary between good and evil was blurred out creatively which will challenge how readers will perceive Sting and his teammates with their continued struggles. Without spoiling anything, I can say that the end of this comic book convinced me to anticipate what will follow next.
Overall, Harbinger #6 (1992) is highly recommended!
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