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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, things got totally wild as Sting, Faith, Flamingo and a pregnant Kris made their way into the middle of a war in an unknown, far-away place within the Unity crossover storyline. Even though Sting and Kris already have major challenges ahead of them related to an upcoming birth of a child, they have no choice but to help their side of powered figures (including Magnus the robot fight, Solar, X-O Manowar and others) win against Erica Pierce.
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #9, published in 1992 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Jim Shooter and drawn by David Lapham. This comic book marks the 16th chapter of the Unity storyline.
The story begins on day number 157 of Unity. Needing immediate help for his girlfriend Kris who is about to give birth, Sting flies to Armstrong who is about to acquire a bottle of liquid painkiller. Minutes later, Sting and Armstrong arrive at a high-tech place where the pregnant Kris is waiting.
Supported by Armstrong and touched by Sting, Kris eventually gives birth to a baby boy. Even though he knows that the baby is not biologically related to him, Sting still expresses his love to Kris and the child.
Suddenly, Faith arrives feeling exhausted. She said she came from battle and their group lost Magnus…
To cite the obvious, this is another high-quality story crafted by Jim Shooter who successfully told the exploits of Sting and his teammates while also highlighting crucial developments on the heroes’ campaign against Erica Pierce within the Unity storyline.
When compared to the events of issue #8, the stakes are much higher this time around not only for Sting, Faith, Kris and Flamingo but also for the other major figures of Valiant’s comic book universe of the time. This is very fitting as Erica Pierce, the so-called Mothergod, took steps closer on achieving her goal that would mean complete disaster for everyone. The notable thing about the way Jim Shooter crafted the narrative within this comic book is that tension gradually rises as the story goes on which leads to something really powerful happening on the final page (note: you must read it yourselves).
On character development, Sting and Kris are the ones who got characterized most. Through Sting, you will realize that even though he is very powerful, his immaturity added to his struggle on achieving goals and setting his priorities straight. Also the way he expressed his love to Kris knowing that the father of the newly born baby was none other than their late teammate Torque, I felt he said it half-heartedly mainly to give her assurance (which he could fail to give). Kris also gets her own share of the spotlight as she embraces her new role as a teenage mother.
More on the Unity story, fans of Magnus, Archer and Armstrong, Rai and Eternal Warrior will have something to enjoy here.
Harbinger #9 (1992) maintains many powerful elements that made the previous issue a great read. The difference is that this comic book has not only the stakes raised higher, but also the drama and the progressive development of Sting and Kris. In here, you will see Sting not only as a powerful teenager struggling with his priorities, but also as a key player in the struggle against Erica Pierce. Those who follow the Unity story will see a lot of engaging stuff from start to finish here.
Overall, Harbinger #9 (1992) is highly recommended!
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