Harbinger (DC Comics)
Art by George Pérez
|First appearance||(as Lyla) New Teen Titans vol. 1 Annual #2 (July 1983)
(as Harbinger) Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 (April 1985)
|Created by||Marv Wolfman
|Alter ego||Lyla Michaels|
|Team affiliations||New Guardians
Black Lantern Corps
|Abilities||Self-duplication and reintegration, energy materialization, superhuman strength, flight, and possessed an orb that recorded every bit of history in the multiverse and beyond while allowing for teleportation through space, time, dimensions, and realities.|
Fictional character biography
An orphan whose ship sunk during a violent storm, Lyla Michaels was rescued from certain doom by the Monitor, a cosmic being locked in an eternal war against his anti-matter counterpart the Anti-Monitor. Raising Lyla as his assistant, the two monitored the multiverse's heroes and arranged for weapons and super-powered henchmen for various villains, to test heroes that the Monitor would recruit for his impending final battle against the Anti-Monitor.
When Crisis on Infinite Earths began, Lyla assumed the identity of "Harbinger" after entering a womb-like chamber which energized her and allowed her to create a series of doppelgangers in her new costume. These doppelgangers recruited a wide variety of heroes and villains to fight the Anti-Monitor's shadow demons and protect a series of vibration towers, designed to protect Earth 1 and Earth 2 from the wave of Anti-Matter destroying the DC Multiverse.
However, while recruiting the hero Arion, a shadow demon merged with one of Harbinger's duplicates, allowing the Anti-Monitor to control her once her various doubles merged into a single entity. Under the Anti-Monitor's control, Lyla killed the Monitor. Ironically, Monitor foresaw the Anti-Monitor's gambit and arranged to have his life force be the fuel to power up the vibration towers, saving Earths 1 and 2 from doom. The shock of what she did caused Lyla to revert to a version of her normal form, which then sacrificed all of her powers to save the last three alternate universe (home of the Freedom Fighters, the Charlton heroes, and the Captain Marvel family) from annihilation.
When the five remaining universes merged, Harbinger suddenly regained her power in the process of time and space merging to create a new single universe DC Universe. Afterwords, Harbinger recorded the history of the Post-Crisis DC Universe into a computer satellite. This led to the Millennium crossover, which had the satellite fall into the hands of the Manhunters, who used the data to confirm the identities of much of the Earth super-hero population as part of a greater plan to infiltrate the super-hero community. After the mini-series, Harbinger joined the New Guardians and was infected with the AIDS virus along with half the team. She reunited with fellow Monitor allies Pariah and Lady Quark during War of the Gods, after which she was offered membership with the Amazon tribe of Themyscira as the Amazons' official historian.
When Kara Zor-El, aka the original Supergirl, was discovered to exist in the Post-Crisis DC Universe and arrived on Earth, she was given shelter and lodgings on the island of Themyscira. Harbinger befriended Supergirl and remembering how she sacrificed her life during the original Crisis, Harbinger willingly died protecting Kara in a failed bid to prevent Darkseid from kidnapping her.
Donna Troy/Dark Angel Connection
During the events of the "Return of Donna Troy" mini-series, it was revealed that Donna Troy's arch enemy (and temporal doppelganger) Dark Angel served a similar role to Harbinger during the original Crisis before severing ties with the Anti-Monitor. Furthermore, the Titans of Myth revealed that Donna was a temporal anomaly thanks to the Crisis changing her and Wonder Woman's histories. The Titans, seeing potential in exploiting Donna's unconscious knowledge of the Pre-Crisis universe, rescued her as a child in order to manipulate her into becoming their own version of Harbinger.
Following the events of the Infinite Crisis, Donna recorded a new version of the "History of the DC Universe" reflecting the changes in the timeline following Infinite Crisis. Meanwhile, a new incarnation of Harbinger, a genetically altered being called The Forerunner was introduced that was tasked with killing anyone who crossed over between universes for the Monitors.
Harbinger was reanimated as a Black Lantern during the Blackest Night crossover. She uses her knowledge of history to provoke her targets by bringing up emotional memories, but is destroyed with the other Black Lanterns.
In Multiversity #1, the AI of the Monitor watchstation known as the House of Heroes refers to itself as Harbinger and bears a resemblance to the previous character.
In other media
Lyla Michaels was reimagined and adapted for live-action television on The CW's Arrow, portrayed by Audrey Marie Anderson, also making guest appearances in the spin-off show The Flash. She is introduced in season one as an A.R.G.U.S. agent who is the ex-wife of John Diggle, Green Arrow's crime-fighting partner. In season two, she becomes a member of the Suicide Squad and recruits Diggle and Green Arrow to the team on behalf of Amanda Waller, and resumes her relationship with Diggle. In season three, she gives birth to Diggle's daughter, Sara, and the pair remarry in "Suicidal Tendencies" after another Suicide Squad mission. In season four, she becomes head of A.R.G.U.S. following Amanda Waller's death. After Barry Allen alters the timeline in The Flash, Lyla and Diggle's baby daughter Sara is replaced by a son, John Diggle Jr., although neither Lyla or John remember Sara but are informed of her previous existence as well as their son's status as a temporal aberration. In season five, Lyla is called "Harbinger" as her communication codename.
Lyla appears in the September 28, 2010 direct-to-DVD film Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, voiced by Rachel Quaintance. In the film she lives on Themyscira among the Amazons. When she begins to receive horrible visions of Supergirl's death she joins Wonder Woman in trying to save her. In trying to save Supergirl from Darkseid's forces, she dies in her place.
- Countdown to Adventure #1
- R.E.B.E.L.S. #10 (2009)
- Multiversity #1