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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, Sting, Faith, Kris and Flaming were still on a faraway world as the Unity crossover storyline went on. Things really changed drastically for Kris as she gave birth to a baby boy whose father was none other than the late Torque. Sting, who is still living with the false sense of maturity, dedicates himself to Kris (whom he fornicated a lot with by this time) and their child even though he still had parts to do in the middle of the destructive battles with Erica Pierce.
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #10, published in 1992 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Jim Shooter and drawn by David Lapham. This comic book marks takes place after the end of Unity.
The story begins on April 5, 1992, at 1:15 AM. Sting, Kris, Faith and Flamingo are instantly brought back into the home of Dr. Heyward and his family. Sting finds himself disoriented from the travel while Kris, who no longer has her baby by this point, feels very weak and hot.
The next morning outdoors, Sting meets with Dr. Heyward and reveals to him that he and his three female companions were away for about six months. For Dr. Heyward and everyone else, not too much time passed at all. To help him understand their experiences during Unity, Sting puts several images and memories into Dr. Heyward’s mind. When asked by the doctor what happened to Kris’ baby, Sting claims he does not know at all.
Meanwhile from somewhere, someone is using electronic surveillance…
From a storytelling viewpoint, the wild fantasy that was Unity which had Sting and his team spend time with other major figures of Valiant Comics has indeed ended and this comic book smoothly follows their return to Earth, the sudden shift of their living and keeping up with reality. As such, you will get to see Sting, Faith, Flamingo and Kris think and act like teenagers which is a notable change of presentation after seeing them as nomads during their time in Unity.
Normalcy of living is a clear theme explored in this story and Jim Shooter really had the characters and events move on while being grounded in reality. In relation to that, there is this really dramatic scene between Kris and Sting as they talked about their relationship and what happened to the baby. The said scene was only seven panels long but you can see and feel the emotion flow through the two characters.
With the massive conflict of Unity over, Sting and his team start pursuing a new goal – to find other young super-powered beings like themselves before Toyo Harada and his powerful Harbinger organization make another move. Along the way, a new form of opposition awaits Sting, Faith, Flamingo and Kris. What was told in this comic book is engaging and refreshing to read.
When you think about the high-quality stories Jim Shooter wrote for the Harbinger monthly series, Harbinger #10 (1992) is clearly another winner. The portrayal of the powered teenagers is believable and very notably, the creators left space for some superhero spectacle for readers to be entertained with as Sting and his teammates start pursuing their new goal. Of course, the new pursuit happened after Sting, Faith, Flamingo and Kris tackled reality first as they returned from spending many months away in Unity while time on Earth moved forward very little. How Jim Shooter and David Lapham managed to emphasize their new story concepts while remaining tight and strong with the storytelling is indeed amazing. I should also state that this comic book marks the start of a new chapter for Sting, Faith, Flamingo and Kris.
Overall, Harbinger #10 (1992) is highly recommended!
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