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.
|Group publication information|
|First appearance||Harbinger #10 (October 1992)|
|Created by||Jim Shooter and David Lapham|
|Type of organization||Team|
|Series publication information|
|Publication date||December 1992 – June 1995|
|Number of issues||30|
|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|
Bob Layton explained the style of the series: "When David [Michelinie] and I set out to do H.A.R.D.Corps it was because ... We like light-hearted, hard hitting, bash 'em in the face, sock 'em guys."
The cover of the first issue was pencilled by Jim Lee over a layout by Bob Layton. Lee had initially declined to take on the cover because he was too busy, but eventually did it in return for Valiant president Steven Massarsky getting him two U2 tickets.
The original team was composed of former fighter pilots and went by call signs in the field, starting a Corps tradition of using codenames.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Satin Doll
The operators who maintain contact with field agents and manage their powers.
- Softcore — usually the operator for most missions.
- 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 abilitiesEdit
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. In new continuity powers are supplied to operatives via Lifeline through their reverse engineered Harada Tech neural implants developed by Project Rising Spirit. Agents can only utilize one power at a time due to the human biology being unaccustomed to hardwired harbinger ability usage, special command sequences for chaining different powers in tandem through the bio-configuration process can be initiated such as; sequence 2, 4, 6, sequence epsilon, etc. The Implants are also wired to explode and can be detonated automatically either upon capture or death of operative and remotely from PRS home base.
VH 1 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
- Ghost Mode - Enables invisibility and intangibility
- Arc Charge - Electrical blasts
- Stun Ram - Telekinetic concussive force
- True Sight - dispels illusions
- Fire - Pyrokinetic discharge and flame resistance
- Breakdown - Molecular cohesion dissolving
- Shields - Force barriers
- Detonation - remote explosions
- Flight - aviation
- Neural Spike - Telepathic stunning
- Suggestion Mode - Hypnotic persuasion
- Muscle Mode - Psionic super strength
- Sleep - Induced neurocognitive deficit
A special store of one off powers called Bee Stings can be issued, but are adeptly named due to the fatality ratio making them useful only once.
- Radiation - Destructive nuclear blasts
- Speed - Enhanced locomotion
- Absorption - Energy drain
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.
|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|
|27–29||Baron||John Calimee||Ramos||Val Mayerik|