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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, the team of Sting, Faith, Flamingo, Kris and Shatiqua only had a minority of the spotlight as the plot was strongly focused on the Harbinger foundation and its team of powered young adults called the Eggbreakers who are trained and funded to do the dirty works of their founder Toyo Harada. The comic book was clearly building up the tension for future conflicts between the Harbinger foundation and Sting’s team, as well as solidifying the comic book series’ own place in the shared universe of Valiant Comics at the time.
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #16, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Maurice Fontenot and illustrated by Howard Simpson.
The story begins on the evening of December 15, 1992. Sting, Flamingo and Shatiqua are inside the elevator and they have just been greeted by the traitorous Ax, two companions and a little black boy. As soon as he expresses his desire to squash Harada, Ax tells Roxy to strike Sting’s group with her bionic arm. Roxy misses and Sting uses his power to push her out with force which causes her male companion to fire his gun inside the elevator.
Sting uses his power to push away mechanical parts over their hands and then lifted himself, Flamingo and Shatiqua up the elevator shaft. Flamingo then uses her power to heat up cables to boost her group’s chance of escape. Shortly after coming out of the top of the building, the three flew and landed on the top of the next building. Sting then falls exhausted. Back inside, Ax and his team continue their pursuit of Sting, Flamingo and Shatiqua.
Elsewhere, Faith and Kris talk about the prospect of attending a Christmas party. Kris suddenly notices man in a trench coat standing outside of their home…
To be clear to all those reading this, especially fans of this comic book series, Sting and his teammates once again only got a minority of the spotlight as the story was written to show of the Eggbreakers as well as the other individuals who are not in league with Toyo Harada and his foundation. While the lack of focus on the main characters could be disappointing to the dedicated fans, this comic book’s script is still of very good quality.
That being said, there is some richness to the way Fontenot crafted the story with the goal of emphasizing the Harbinger foundation’s Eggbreakers and armed personnel plus Ax who opposes Harada as well as Sting and his teammates. Ultimately, the plot established that while the Harbinger foundation is the biggest and clearest danger within its own spot of Valiant’s shared universe, there are still powered young adults other than Sting’s team who oppose the said organization. This also shows that even though it has tons of financial resources, technologies and a lot personnel under the very powerful Harada, the Harbinger foundation still has a long way to go before it convinces all powered young adults to join its cause of world domination. In fact, the foundation has not done a good job trying convince the powered individuals to give up their respective lives and private affairs for the sake being part of the organization that is so capable of providing their needs and freeing them from society’s constraints.
The Eggbreakers, like in the previous issue, got developed further here. I noticed that the comic book creators have been building up Eggbreakers member Spikeman for something and he has some sort of personal connection with Ax. The mysteries about Spikeman added some suspense to the narrative.
Compared to the previous issue, the action and superhero spectacle has been ramped up here. You will see action scenes that would look good in an R-rated movie and there is also a rather gory scene that was surprising to see.
Harbinger #16 (1993) is another really solid story of this comic book series. The creative team just kept on building up the people who serve Harada as well as the others who oppose him which unsurprisingly left Sting and his teammates with not a lot of spotlight. Clearly the team of Fontenot and Simpson were building up something for future stories and even managed to do some pay-off to certain elements that were built up in the previous issues. Ultimately, this comic book is a very intriguing and fun read!
Overall, Harbinger #16 (1993) is highly recommended!
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