Review: ‘Harbinger: The Beginning’ by Jim Shooter and David Lapham
I had forgotten how much superhero comics had changed in the past 15 years when I picked up Valiant’s new Harbinger: The Beginning collection ($24.95), which revives the book’s first issues from 1992.
It’s impossible to evaluate the stories without looking at the context of their era. True, [[[Harbinger]]] never reached the excessive silliness of Liefeld’s [[[X-Force]]], but it’s populated by edgy characters with dated nicknames like “Torque,” who spout even more dated phrases like “buttlick.”
Since the crash of the ’90s, comics have largely moved toward a more serious and realistic tone, and Harbinger (created by Jim Shooter and David Lapham) stands in stark contrast. All the same, in many ways the book holds up, probably no surprise since it once garnered a great number of fans.
What’s especially appreciable about Harbinger is how it strays from the superhero stereotype, something even today’s books struggle to do. The protagonist, Pete, is not a clear-cut hero; instead he’s an immature and often egotistical teen who doesn’t understand the dangers of his powers. The villain, Harada, is no great man, but his central goal is to protect the world from Pete.
As much as anything, Harbinger is about the folly of youth and the lessons to be learned from those mistakes. It falls into cliché and hollow edginess, but more often jumps in surprising directions and offers a new (again, in context) take on heroes.
I was just thinking that since the film rights to Harbinger have been sold, Zephyr/Zepplin would be a great next role for Nikki Blonsky, late of Hairspray.Harbinger, like all the Valiant books, really had something different to offer. It's too bad they're more known for being the spearhead of the speculator's market than the strong stories that started the company off.They really need to do a chromium cover for one of the TPBs, just to piss people off.
"They really need to do a chromium cover for one of the TPBs, just to piss people off."You're evil, Vinnie. Pure evil. ;)
would like to see new comics come out
This reviewer does not know wtf he's talking about.I sat down and read the 1st issue for the first time in about 10-12 years last night and was amazed by how well the writting holds up. The level of storytelling is as accomplished as any new comic I've read so far this year, and I read just about everything modern. I'd forgotten how good Jim SHooter's work on these titles was. Acting as if it is something quaint, becuase of code-names and some passe slang, displays a poor understanding of writing. It is a light-year beyond something like, for example, his recent work on LOSH, which nobody dismisses as hoaky or retro.Associating Harbinger with, indeed, even mentioning, the 'silliness' of X-force in connection to this excellent comic is a low-blow. You need fiction-writing lessons, guy.