A Look Back at Harbinger #9 (1992)

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, 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 cover.

Early story

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…

Quality

Sting, Flamingo and Faith with the other major Valiant Comics figures on a mission.

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.

Conclusion

Kris is now a mother and Sting is not the father of the child.

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!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Harbinger #8 (1992)

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, Sting, Faith, Kris and Flamingo struggled with the completely unexpected new reality that their teammate Torque had died. As they mourned, Toyo Harada and his foundation just kept on operating and preparing themselves for a future conflict with the protagonists. Harada specifically perceives Sting as the most dangerous object for his organization to deal with.  

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #8, published in 1992 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Jim Shooter and drawn by David Lapham.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on April 4, 1992 inside the nice home of Dr. Heyward. There, Heyward, his wife and their two kids are enjoying the company of Faith, Sting and Flamingo. Upstairs, Kris could not fit jeans as she has gained weight. Heyward’s wife Moni arrives, offers her new clothes to wear and shares with her some insight about being in a relationship.

After dinner, Sting and Dr. Heyward have a nice chat with drinks. At the kitchen, Kris and Moni begin to talk about pregnancy with Flamingo present. As soon as Kris says that she is thinking about asking Dr. Heyward about getting an abortion, Flamingo tells her not to do it as the baby inside her all that is left of their dead teammate Torque.

Just as Kris begins to play dumb and divert attention away, a weirdly dressed teenager suddenly appears inside the home. He identifies himself as Geoff McHenry the geomancer…

Quality

Faith collects and then flies high for a grand view.

To get straight to the point, this issue of Harbinger is easily the wildest story I’ve read in this series and for a very obvious reason – it is part of the Unity crossover storyline that established the Valiant Comics universe’s overall concept. For the newcomers reading this, Unity was published in 1992 composed of eighteen chapters – beginning with Unity #0 – which saw story parts told in issues of other Valiant titles like Eternal Warrior, Archer & Armstrong, Magnus Robot Fighter, X-O Manowar, Rai and Solar Man of the Atom.

That being said, the story here is not only wilder than ever but also really went higher with its flight of fantasy which really impacted the protagonists. In her, Sting, Faith, Flamingo and even the pregnant Kris get recruited to join what turned out to be a major battle waged by a group of adult heroes (Solar, Eternal Warrior, Archer & Armstrong, X-O Manowar, Rai and others) against Erica Pierce (the Mothergod) who is obsessed with destroying the universe as she wield immense power.

More on the plot, the transition of Sting and his teammates going into battle on an unknown realm progressed very smoothly which surprised me. As there are lots of battle scenes and other forms of superhero spectacle to see, the creative team managed to maintain a compelling narrative that moved at a medium pace which makes following the exploits of the powered teenagers easy to do. Sure, you get to see the other Valiant Comics heroes share the spotlight in this comic book but Sting and his teammates are the clear protagonists.

Even though there are lots of battle scenes, Jim Shooter still succeeded in setting up a good amount of character development scenes which resulted in clear development of Sting and Kris. Not only that, Shooter convincingly captured the impulse of youth and the false sense of maturity on the part of Sting who at this point has to take special care of Kris, think about the future of becoming a father while dealing with pressure from the other Valiant superheroes who need him to really advance against Erica Pierce. This comic book’s script is very strong and richly layered!

Conclusion

Sting and his teammates stand along with the other heroes of the Valiant Comics universe.

Being the eight chapter of the Unity crossover storyline, Harbinger #8 (1992) has this almost perfect mix of the epic superhero conflict, spectacle and characterization while maintaining sufficient focus on the exploits Sting, Faith, Kris and Flamingo. At this point of the monthly series, Sting (note: whose immense power was portrayed here) and Kris are preparing themselves for the future while failing to realize they are not really mature enough to deal with both the anticipated parenthood and the Unity conflict at hand. This comic book is a must-read as it works excellently both as a standalone story as well as a chapter of Unity. That being said, I’m looking forward to the next issue already.

Overall, Harbinger #8 (1992) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Harbinger #7 (1992)

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, Sting, his teammates and Solar left the Harbinger facility in Texas after having an intense talk. As far as Solar is concerned, Sting is dangerous and irresponsible. He also advises the powered teenagers to abandon their mission of crushing Toyo Harada. As soon as Solar leaves, Sting decides to lead his teammates back to the Harbinger facility to resume their quest without any real preparation nor analysis. This led to a series of unfortunate events.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #7, published in 1992 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Jim Shooter and drawn by David Lapham.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins late one evening on a road in Louisiana. Sting, Kris, Faith and Flamingo are agonizing over the sight of Torque who was just been killed by an insider while inside an ambulance.

As Flamingo starts the model prayer, Sting reveals to them that he was inside Torque’s mind and witnessed him bidding goodbye. As the police suddenly arrive, Sting and his teammates quickly climb up a tree and watched from a distance. As the cops check on the wreckage and Torque’s dead body, Sting says that the ambulance was probably registered to Eight Day or some phony front for Harbinger. Faith, Sting, Flamingo and Kris discreetly fly away to get some rest and reorganize themselves.

Elsewhere, a team of powered young adults receive much-needed assistance from the Eight Day crew and truck that arrived. They have a few teammates who got seriously injured during their battle with Sting’s team. Harada’s limousine arrives and the head of Harbinger talks with Weasel and Rock. While the two young adult tell Harada they eliminated Torque whom they identified as priority number two, the powerful boss tells them of their personal weak points and that they lost their focus on eliminating Sting who is the number one priority as he is perceived to be the greatest threat to Harbinger. Harada declares Weasel and Rock placed on probation…  

Quality

Sting and his team commit another crime for the sake of their departed friend Torque.

The best way to describe this story is that it is essentially the aftermath of the hard battles they went through in issues #5 and #6. The main theme in this comic book is the loss of a friend (as opposed to the loss of a super human) and Jim Shooter used the loss to redevelop the main characters in varying ways. That being said, Shooter showed what the false sense of maturity among teenagers is like and why such young people lose self-control and let their emotions overwhelm their ability to reason. The pain of Torque’s death conveniently kept Sting, Faith, Flamingo and Kris from feeling any guilt about the crimes they committed (as seen in issue #2) as their leader’s obsession with beating Harada remained unchallenged. For those who love dramatics, the funeral scene is a must-see.

Apart from the story of Sting and his teammates, this comic book sheds light further on the Harbinger foundation’s use of powered young adults who were trained to use violence without any regret nor restraint. In relation to this, I find the dialogue of Toyo Harada during his interaction with Weasel and Rock to be richly layered as it emphasizes his authority and insight about priorities as well as his own in-depth knowledge on each member of his personnel. This makes Harada even more intimidating as this series’ primary super villain.

Conclusion

The impact of Torque’s death is felt strongly.

While it lacks spectacle as it was focused more on character development related to the loss of an established main character, Harbinger #7 (1992) is a dramatic character study that was compelling to read from start to finish. While the previous few issues subtly showed that the boundary between good and evil was blurred away, this comic book dramatized Sting, Faith, Flamingo and Kris to be more human and emotional. The death of Torque in the previous issue really showed its impact on his teammates realistically. Readers who enjoy dramatics will enjoy this.

Overall, Harbinger #7 (1992) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Harbinger #6 (1992)

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, Peter and his teammates took a vacation together in New Orleans, Louisiana. That vacation was immediately cut short when Peter senses the presence of their deadliest rival Toyo Harada who himself was present in the same city before he traveled to Dallas, Texas to attend to an emergency. That incident in Texas eventually caught the attention of Peter, Faith, Kris, Flamingo and Torque who eventually encountered Solar.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #6, published in 1992 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Jim Shooter and drawn by David Lapham.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins 12:41 AM of March 6, 1992 at the sub-basement of the Harbinger Foundation’s building in Texas. Toyo Harada and his armed personnel cornered the group of Sting and Solar with Harbinger’s own Puff and Thumper standing nearby.

Sting’s team are clearly not in tandem with Solar in the conflict with Harada. Solar finds Sting a dangerous and irresponsible person. Realizing that Solar is indeed a very powerful figure that he could not bring down mentally, Sting decides that their team should abandon their goal of defeating Harada. After Solar tells the powered teenagers to move out, Harada decides to let them all go even though their sides fought with each other.

After flying away from the facility altogether, Sting’s team and Solar have a small discussion. After trying to make Sting, Faith, Flamingo, Kris and Torque realize their recklessness and their ill-conceived goal of defeating Harada, Solar leaves them by vanishing. Sting then decides that they resume their quest to go back and defeat Harada…

Quality

In this issue, you will see Sting, Faith, Kris, Torque and Flamingo really struggle with the newer forces unleashed by the Harbinger foundation.

Now that build-up of plot and character development in the previous issue have been established, the story here works as a major pay-off complete with twists and turns that I found compelling and intriguing to read. For one thing, this story has lots of superhero action and for the first time in this particular monthly series, the lead characters have really been pushed to the edge and became truly vulnerable as the Harbinger foundation unleashed its might against Sting and his teammates. Fortunately, the action did nothing to overwhelm the narrative which remained solidly written. This is not a brainless form of superhero entertainment but rather a progressive development of the Sting’s team just as Harada’s force became a tremendous opposition towards them.

The crossover with Solar was noticeably short but every moment the said major character had in this comic book was wisely executed by the team of Shooter and Lapham. Solar did not just appear to showcase his powers as he tries to talk sense with Sting and team while showing restraint on dealing with powerful figures like Harada. That being said, Solar’s dialogue with Sting and the team is very insightful and the words expressed easily reminded me that Sting, Faith, Kris, Torque and Flamingo themselves are guilty of crime (note: look what they did in issue #2) and are bad like Harada. I can also state that this comic book will make you speculate if Sting and his teammates have been consumed by evil or have decided to become evil while believing in their survival and their goal of defeating the Harbinger foundation’s leader.

Furthermore, this comic book has very notables twists with its storytelling and the action presented. Those you must see by getting a copy of this comic book!

Conclusion

Read the dialogue of Solar closely and observe how reckless Sting is on leading his team.

If there is anything to be said about Harbinger #6 (1992), it is the fact that Jim Shooter and David Lapham did not let the high quality storytelling down a bit, not even for a second. The continued progression of the main characters, the further emphasis on the danger the Harbinger foundation has against them kept growing, and other elements established in this particular comic book series just kept getting deeper and more intriguing to read. In addition, the boundary between good and evil was blurred out creatively which will challenge how readers will perceive Sting and his teammates with their continued struggles. Without spoiling anything, I can say that the end of this comic book convinced me to anticipate what will follow next.

Overall, Harbinger #6 (1992) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco