TITLE: The H.A.R.D. Corps Issue Vol. 1, Issue 1
YEAR: December 1992
COMPANY: Valiant Comics
Plot, Script by David Michelinie
Pencils by David Lapham
Plot, Inks by Bob Layton
Colors by David Chlystek
With the huge popularity of Valiant Comics of the early ’90s, one of the major storylines of the comic book series is how antagonist Toyo Harada, the man who established the Harbinger Foundation, a place to recruit those with paranormal activities.
The truth is that he feels that humanity is going to destroy itself and to preserve the planet, he must conquer it. And that means doing it by controlling all Harbingers in the world.
The Harbinger Active Resistance Division (H.A.R.D. Corps) which represents Omen Enterprises are a group of normal humans who were once comatose and were revived by an experimental brain implant. This implant helps them access various artificial Harbinger super-abilities which can be switched on by an operator named “Softcore”.
If any of the members are captured or are killed in battle, their implants will explode and killing a member.
The first appearance of the H.A.R.D. Corps was in Harbinger Issue #10 and they eventually got their own comic book series in 1992.
The first issue features five members of The H.A.R.D. Corps sent into a highly secured Harbinger Foundation Data Bunker, Sublevel Six to stop a threat which include the Harbinger, Big Boy.
The team consists of:
- Gunslinger – The team leader, Charlie Palmer
- Shakespeare – AAron Brillstein, a Vietnam vet who loves to read and quote literature
- Maniac – Jan Chahosky, a gung-ho warrior
- Hammerhead – Marion Virgil Peeves, who got the nickname for the numerous scars on his head
- Superstar – Former movie star Rick Silver
As the team try to keep things in order, Big Boy grabs and pummels Maniac. Despite efforts to save Maniac, it was determined by the higher ups monitoring H.A.R.D. Corps that he is dead and immediately blow up his implants.
Big Boy ends up escaping but the team get into a discussion about their implants, as a few members are unaware that they were implanted.
The first issue is an introduction to the characters and an introduction to the person who is to replace the deceased Maniac, who learns that he has a choice of to fight and be alive with H.A.R.D. Corps or his implants will be removed and he will be comatose once again.
The issue pretty much spells out the situation for each member, fight to stay alive, get captured or die and their implants will blow up. In other words, these individuals don’t have much say in the manner.
While the first issue features a cool cover by Jim Lee (who did it as a favor for Valiant president Steven Massarsky for getting him U2 tickets).
For the most part, an introduction of a team working for the evil Harada who takes down renegade Harbingers, which Harada wants control of. An interesting concept, especially when compared to the Sentinels of the X-Men titles.