H.A.R.D. Corps

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H.A.R.D. Corps
Group publication information
Publisher Valiant Comics
First appearance (First)
Harbinger #10 (October 1992)
()
([[ in comics|]])
Created by Jim Shooter and David Lapham
In-story information
Type of organization Team
H.A.R.D. Corps
Series publication information
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing
Genre
Publication date (Vol. 1)
December 1992 – June 1995
()
[[ in comics|]] – present
Number of issues 30
Main character(s) Gunslinger
Shakespeare
Flatline
Hammerhead
Hotshot
Creative team
Writer(s) David Michelinie, Bob Layton, Jorge Gonzalez, Maurice Fontenot, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, John F. Kelly, Mike Baron
Penciller(s) David Lapham, Mike Leeke, Bernard Chang, Andrew Wendel, Ted Halstead, Yves Guichet, Rik Levins, Jordi Ensign, Steve Ellis, John Calimee
Inker(s) Bob Layton, Katherine Bollinger, Tom Ryder, Paul Autio, Rodney Ramos, John Dixon, Frank McLaughlin, Jennifer Marrus, Richard Space, Rudy Nebres, Mike DeCarlo
Creator(s) Jim Shooter and David Lapham

H.A.R.D. Corps was a Valiant Comics title which ran from 1992-1995. The acronym stands for Harbinger Active Resistance Division. The title's focus was a corporate strike team (representing Omen Enterprises) dealing with Toyo Harada, a character from the Harbinger title, and his goal of controlling all Harbingers. The characters were normal humans who were comatose and revived with an experimental brain implant that also enabled them to access an assortment of artificial Harbinger super-abilities via an operator named "Softcore." Capture or death caused the implants to explode, killing the Corps member if he or she was still alive.

H.A.R.D. Corps first appeared in Harbinger #10 (Oct. 1992), and were created by Jim Shooter and David Lapham.

Characters[edit]

The original team was composed of former fighter pilots and went by call signs in the field, starting a Corps tradition of using codenames.

Original team[edit]

The original team were all Vietnam War veterans who served together in the same unit.

  • Gunslinger — The H.A.R.D. Corps leader, Charlie Palmer is often referred to as Major by the others (his military rank).
  • Shakespeare — Aaron Brillstein is a Vietnam vet with a tendency to quote literature.
  • Maniac — Jan Chahosky is a reckless warrior who seldom waits for orders. He dies in H.A.R.D. Corps #1. He is later replaced by Flatline.
  • Hammerhead — Marion Virgil Peeves loves to fight and is overly proud of the scars he accumulates on his bald head. He also hates his first name.

Other members[edit]

  • Superstar — A former movie star, Rick Silver is not one of the original members of the project, but he is with the team as of their first appearance. He dies covering the group's escape when the implants that make him invulnerable fail. This failure was a deliberate malfunction caused by the CEO of Omen due to his feeling that Superstar's behavior was becoming more and more erratic. He is replaced by Hotshot.

Later additions[edit]

  • Flatline — (first appearance: H.A.R.D. Corps #1) Sam Yoom Kim was once a cop in his native Korea, but while in an L.A. riot he was injured trying to help others and fell into a coma. He replaced Maniac. Sam's clever thinking made the team see his merit, and he was the first member to question the morality of some missions the Corps undertook (such as capturing Bloodshot).
  • Hotshot — (first appearance: H.A.R.D. Corps #7) Christine Eastman is both the first female member of the Corps and the first member of the reserves to make the grade. The former leader of the reserve squadron, her leadership abilities and dedication to completing a mission reflect her military training.

Reserves[edit]

  • Perp - Former gang member, he adapts easily to H.A.R.D Corps-style shootouts, but lacks the strategic abilities of the first string members.
  • Wipeout - A California surfer-type, his unwillingness to kill in combat situations often places him at risk. Wipeout will usually employ his kickboxing training or a nonlethal power to fight, though experience made him more willing to use deadly force.
  • Grasshopper - Especially trained in martial arts and infiltration, Grasshopper is an espionage agent who is sent on solo missions.
  • Ironhead - A former boxer, drugged into a coma to fix a big match. He is allowed to die seeking revenge when his access to Harbinger powers is cut off.

Towards the end of the series, other recruits were drafted to form a second Corps team with Perp, Grasshopper, and Wipeout. These included:

  • Football
  • Brainsmash
  • Satin Doll
  • Payback
  • Disco

Support staff[edit]

The operators who maintain contact with field agents and manage their powers.

  • Softcore — usually the operator for most missions.
  • Lifeline
  • Safeguard
  • Sigmund Heydrich — The director of the H.A.R.D Corps operation, he determines how to deploy the team. An expensive operation (Softcore remarks that training and equipping a single operative runs into eight figures), he frequently had to justify expenditures to Omen Enterprises.
  • Midnight — also known as Earl, a teenaged scientist working for Harada, he scrambles the Corps's transmissions when they attack a lab he's in, enabling them to be captured. Hotshot disillusions him on the Harbinger Foundation, and he allows the Corps to escape without opposition from his devices. He later appears to aid the strike team.

Powers and abilities[edit]

Each member of the H.A.R.D. Corps could utilize one Harbinger power at a time. To switch powers, an operative had to radio Softcore and request she make the switch while at headquarters. They are often seen using a defensive power and firearms for offense, but switching powers is a quick enough process to be accomplished in combat. Needing to communicate to switch their powers sometimes becomes a weakness: Corps operatives who lose their headset cannot switch powers, and sometimes their opponents will jam or disrupt communications with their base, knowing that "microbeams" are used to alter the mimicked powers.

The powers the H.A.R.D. Corps demonstrate include:

  • Ghost Mode - Also known as intangibility
  • Airborne - Flight
  • Detonation Mode - User is able to cause explosions via hand contact
  • Invulnerability - User is unable to be damaged, but can still be knocked out
  • Shield Mode - Ability to form an energy shield in one direction
  • Ultra-Mass - Greatly increases user's density
  • Neural Spike - Ability to throw "spikes" which disrupt the nervous system in order to incapacitate targets
  • Sunburst - Ability to fire blasts of flame from hands
  • Strobe Burst - Generation of a blinding flash of light
  • Arc Charge - Projection of electrical energy
  • Stun Ram - Projection of a ray of concussive force
  • Tsetse - Touch range sleep attack
  • Strength Mode - Grants superhuman strength
  • Grenade Mode - Ability to generate and throw explosive "grenades" of energy
  • Static Mode - Disrupts communications and transmissions
  • Decoy Mode - Creation of illusions, such as holograms
  • Jolt Mode - Administers an adrenaline surge upon touch, used to counteract soporifics
  • Invisibility - Turns user invisible
  • Forcefield - Completely encases user in a protective aura

Occasionally H.A.R.D. Corps will capture new Harbingers to analyze their powers. If a previously unknown power is discovered, a record is made in order to enable replication of the power.

Continuity[edit]

A spinoff of the Harbinger title, H.A.R.D. Corps was the ancestor of Psi Lords, which was set in the 41st century and dealt with the descendants of the Corps.

Creative teams[edit]

Issue # Writer Penciler Inker Cover
1 David Michelinie David Lapham Bob Layton Jim Lee & Layton
2 Michelinie Mike Leeke Bob Layton Leeke & Layton
3 Michelinie Leeke Katherine Bollinger & Layton Leeke & Barry Windsor-Smith
4 Michelinie Leeke Tom Ryder Leeke & Ryder
5 Michelinie & Layton Bernard Chang Ryder Leeke & Ryder
6 Michelinie & Layton Leeke Ryder Leeke & Ryder
7–8 Michelinie & Layton Leeke Paul Autio Leeke & Ryder
9 Michelinie Andrew Wendel Autio Leeke & Ryder
10 Michelinie Ted Halstead Autio Leeke & Autio
11–16 Michelinie Yves Guichet Rodney Ramos Guichet & Ramos
17 Layton Rik Levins John Dixon Guichet & Ramos
18 Jorge Gonzalez Levins Dixon Levins & Dixon
19–20 Maurice Fontenot Levins Dixon Levins & Dixon
21–22 Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning Jordi Ensign Dixon Levins & Dixon
23 Fontenot & Gonzalez Ensign Frank McLaughlin & Jennifer Marrus Levins & Layton
24 John F. Kelly Ensign Ensign Levins & Layton
25 Mike Baron Steve Ellis Richard Space
26 Baron Ellis Rudy Nebres DR
27–29 Baron John Calimee Ramos Val Mayerik
30 Baron Leeke Mike DeCarlo Grey

References[edit]