A Look Back at Harbinger #18 (1993)

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, some twists of events happened for Sting and his teammates during the Christmas season. The story was part of the continuing build-up and expansion of the Harbinger series’ own space within Valiant Comics’ shared universe under the direction of Maurice Fontenot. As of issue #17, another new character from outside of Sting’s group got introduced for them to interact with.     

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #18, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Maurice Fontenot and illustrated by Howard Simpson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on January 1993. Within the city of New York, Faith, Shatiqua and Flamingo are being followed by a young man wearing a trench coat. They know they are being followed. They eventually found themselves just outside the same amusement joint where Shatiqua played a lot of arcade games and decide to enter.

Inside, many people recognized and greeted Shatiqua which reflects her outstanding reputation on arcade games. As Shatiqua, Faith and Kris approach a certain arcade game (that Shatiqua wants to play), they noticed the one playing it is the same little black boy (capable of disappearing) they encountered previously. Shatiqua then takes the first step to approach him and gain his attention.

The boy then disappears and reappears a short distance away from the three and right beside same trench coated man who earlier follow them. The boy then attempts to blow the place up with a hand grenade. The man in the trench coat reacts quickly revealing his power to Faith, Shatiqua and Flamingo.

Quality

Sting shows his ignorance and lack of maturity while getting checked by Dr. Hayward.

This is the latest build-up type of story Fontenot composed and like the previous issue, another new character unconnected to Sting’s team got introduced for them to interact with. The new character here is referred to as Screen and he clearly is a more interesting character than the one introduced in issue #17. Screen here is more impulsive and aggressive and he sure looks like he has what it takes to oppose Sting. I also liked the way the creative team showed the impulsiveness and lack of maturity of both Sting and Screen.

Within the script is the establishment of a new sub-plot which symbolizes the growing danger of the Harbinger foundation towards not only on Sting and teammates but also against the others that oppose Toyo Harada and his organization. In some ways, the sub-plot will make you speculate about the invisible yet sinister forces who wield tremendous power over the top government officials who are supposed to be serving their constituents within the republic.

With all of these details laid down, I can say they are all engaging to read as Fontenot’s writing continued to be really strong. For the art, I can say that Howard Simpson continued to pump out really solid visuals while successfully keeping the primary characters recognizable all the time.

Conclusion

This image is very symbolic as Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary made it normal for the United States to make deals with terrorists (notably Iran and Palestine) and betray the patriotic Americans. This makes this comic book socially relevant and what you see with the corrupt administration of Joe Biden reconnects strongly with the Clinton legacy.

Harbinger #18 (1993) is a very solid comic book to read. The build-up continues to happen and along the way, the titular characters got developed some more and this time around, the Harbinger foundation’s power continues to get stronger which convinced me to look forward to the next issue.   

Overall, Harbinger #18 (1993) is highly recommended!

+++++

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