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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, Faith encountered an old man who turned out to be highly unusual and this led to her dealing with street troublemakers. More notably, the comic book developed Faith’s personality further and she is definitely more than just the geek among her teammates.
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #14, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Maurice Fontenot and illustrated by Howard Simpson.
The story begins during one of the past events in the Unity storyline as the young Geomancer tells Kris to give to him her baby as something crucial was about to happen in just a few minutes. Kris, who already knows that her infant is actually Magnus the robot fighter, unsurprisingly resists. Suddenly, energy and light formed between the two and Kris’ baby suddenly disappears which prompts the Geomancer to state that Solar is sending everyone – including the baby – to a proper place in time.
In the present day of October 9, 1992, Faith helps a kid by retrieving his kite from a tall tree not realizing that she just exposed herself as they are within a public park. Sting warns her that her act was risky as there could by anybody watching them from a distance.
A few feet away from Sting, Faith, Flamingo and Shatiqua is Kris who watches a group of children playing…
The story here is a complete change of direction compared to issue #13. For one thing, it takes a look back at key events that took place during the Unity crossover storyline which specifically involved Sting and his teammates. The flashbacks were done through Kris’ memory and she provides the narration (conveniently for us readers) as she shares her personal views about what happened.
More notably, the flashback and narrations reflect how much of an impact the loss of the baby truly was for Kris who even expressed that the infant – destined to be Magnus the robot fighter as an adult – must have hated her for letting him go.
Unity aside, this comic book also follows the private lives of Sting, Kris, Flamingo, Faith and Shatiqua as they now live together in a rented home. While almost all of them have special abilities, they are still vulnerable with not just the threat of the Harbinger foundation but also the with the costs and constant challenges of living independently from their respective families. It’s nice that as this was Maurice Fontenot’s debut as writer of this particular monthly series, the general tone was maintained and the story was told with realism in mind. I also like the way Fontenot dramatized the characters particularly with Sting still living with a false sense of maturity at a time when his love Kris is struggling over the visions about the past and her lost child.
This comic book also marked the series debut of Howard Simpson whose art style resembles that of David Lapham.
Harbinger #14 (1993) has a solid touch on developing the lead characters – specifically Kris – and went as far as recalling some of the events of Unity while even having a few pages featuring one of Valiant Comics’ major characters which you can easily guess who. To put it short, this comic book ultimately served as a build-up for further confrontations with the Harbinger foundation but the characterization of Kris here is the real meat of the story. By the time you reach the end, you should be able to know Kris more. Definitely a solid read!
Overall, Harbinger #14 (1993) is highly recommended!
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