[6 January 2010]
I was a child of the 90s, but I was also a child in the 90s. Being born in ‘86 made getting to know good comics of the early 90s slightly difficult. Equally troubling, was the fact that I was not old enough to have a job, so no income. So, the only comics I was privilege to were those on the stands at the grocery store. Or yard sales. More often than not, comic books went unnoticed for me, especially by independent publishers.
Luckily, we have trade paperbacks that let us relive the days of our youth, to read the books we may have missed, without paying an arm and a leg for back issues. Exhibit A: Harbinger: Children of the Eighth Day.
I heard it was groundbreaking.
I heard it was well written. I just never took the time to read it myself. But am I ever glad I did. Especially now, as an adult.
The characters in this book were surprisingly deep. Flamingo and Sting stood out from the rest. With Flamingo trying to find self worth, after constantly pursuing meaningless sexual relationships; and Sting finding a balancing the good and evil uses of his powers, true internal struggles are depicted. It is hard not to be instantly invested in these characters lives. Seeing Kris and Sting fight at the end made me realize that.
One thing that does give this book a dated feel is some of the language. When an evil android is calling one of our heroes a “sneaky little slut”, you can’t help but chuckle. For the most part though, it flows. But every once in a while the vocabulary sticks out like a sore thumb, and makes you wonder if anyone ever used words like “scumblot”.
This book is very special, because it is simply about people and their relationships. And that was quite an achievement for the superhero-driven 90s. Yes, it is about having super powers, and fighting bad guys. But, at the very core of this story is the relationships. From beginning to end, we see these characters fight with each other, and struggle to get along. However, we also see them relying on each other for strength, standing up for one another when times are tough. These are ideals that everyone can relate to, regardless of when the book was written.
After 17 years, despite some slightly dated vocabulary, Harbinger: Children of the Eighth Day still tells an entertaining story, with easily relatable characters.