February 27, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Case Files #255: Harbinger

The Monitor had a servant during the Crisis. She stuck around a little afterwards.

Last week, in light of the Arrowverse doing its own take on Crisis on Infinite Earths, I covered the maybe-hero known as Pariah.

So, why not do the same for another character to first appear, more or less, in the Crisis on Infinite Earths and look at Harbinger?

OK, granted, I sort of covered Harbinger once before.  She was part of that odd 80s superteam the New Guardians.  But that was within the context of a larger group, and I didn’t say too much about her personally.  And while Harbinger is best remembered for the Crisis, she didn’t quite appear there first.  Her first appearance, under her real name of Lyla Michaels, was in a New Team Titans annual, but since that series was also the work of Marv Wolfman and (maybe) George Perez, I’m inclined to consider Crisis on Infinite Earths her first appearance since that was the first time Lyla appeared as Harbinger.

Lyla was the aide/servant to the Monitor.  An orphan, she would have died in a storm at sea were it not for the Monitor’s intervention.  As such, the Monitor gave Lyla some nifty powers involving energy projection, strength, flight, the ability to make copies of herself, and she later got her hands on the Monitor’s special orb, allowing her to know the history of the multiverse.

Harbinger basically went out to gather the heroes and villains the Monitor initially wanted to fight the forces of the Anti-Monitor.  She would be one of the characters at the center of the thing, particularly when the Anti-Monitor managed to temporarily corrupt her, forcing Harbinger to murder the Monitor.

But that just meant Harbinger had nothing to do, really.  Her role in life had been taken away, and maybe that’s why she only sort of went away.  After her stint with the New Guardians, Harbinger bounced around a bit, eventually befriending a newly reborn or returned Supergirl in the Superman/Batman series, only to die protecting Supergirl from Darkseid.  She did briefly return as a Black Lantern, but as far as I know, she hasn’t been seen much since.

And yes, there is a Harbinger in the Arrowverse’s Crisis, here re-imagined as the wife of one of Oliver Queen’s closest friends and an occasional supporting character played be actress Audrey Marie Anderson.

So, will the Arrowverse also be doing the New Guardians?  I kinda hope not.  We’ll just have to wait and see.