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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 review, Faith, Flamingo and Kris – with her uncle as a companion – accidentally got reunited with Archer and Armstrong at Coney Island. It turns out Kris’ uncle had a negative encounter with Armstrong decades prior which compels him to approach a local crime boss for assistance. This led to a wild chase.
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #23, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Maurice Fontenot and illustrated by Howard Simpson.
The story begins with Sting, Flamingo and Faith surrounded by armed personnel at the Harbinger Foundation’s private hangar at La Guardia Airport in New York. Faith does something drastic causing a heavy object from above to start falling down on the armed men. One of the men fires his gun at a barrel of fuel which causes a big explosion.
In a room nearby, Shatiqua and Kris hacked a computer to acquire lots of confidential information from the Harbinger Foundation. After realizing the explosion that happened, they decide to work fast getting the information they need.
On the airport’s tarmac, a private jet is on standby waiting for clearance to take off. Inside is Walter Sakai, who is one of the most trusted men under Toyo Harada…
Without spoiling the crucial details of the plot, the Fontenot-Simpson clearly made the moves to raise the stakes between Sting’s team and the Harbinger Foundation, complete with the build-up of a pending high-stakes conflict between their respective leaders.
Of course, this is the latest conflict between the two sides – one side has super-powered teens who want to live freely while the other is a powerful organization that has been developing its of super-powered youth members using vast resources as well as political connections. This time around, the creative team not only raised the stakes but also came up with some really dark and bizarre scenarios within Sting’s own team. The good news is that Fontenot came up with something new and surprising to keep this series going with a clear direction ahead. The mentioned dark scenarios visually have a horror film vibe.
As for Sting himself, he continues to take action recklessly and without any backup, he impulsively goes after one of Harada’s top executives without considering the consequences. At this stage, Sting has turned unlikable and it really looks like the boundary separating good and evil got blurred away. That being said, there will be moments in which you will feel like wanting to tell Sting he is doing things the wrong way.
Harbinger #23 (1993) revives the rivalry between Sting’s team and the Harbinger Foundation, only this time there are some very solid twists that resulted in both surprise and intrigue when I read this tale. It seems to me that something tremendous between Harada and Sting was being built up. Considering the really good quality of this comic book and how the story ended, I can say I am looking forward to the next issue.
Overall, Harbinger #23 (1993) is recommended.
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