Characters I Love # 25: Harbinger

Art by George Perez

Every so often, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. This week we’re talking about: Harbinger! This character was really Lyla Michaels and she was introduced in New Teen Titans Annual # 2 (July 1983), though she didn’t become Harbinger until Crisis on Infinite Earths # 1 (April 1985). As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of the characters introduced in Crisis (Pariah, Lady Quark, the female Doctor Light, etc.) and Harbinger is no exception. Rescued from certain death by the Monitor, Lyla became his assistant as he prepared to deal with the looming Crisis. Lyla was transformed into Harbinger and given the task of splitting herself into many forms so she could recruit heroes to stop the Anti-Monitor.

After the Crisis, she was responsible for cataloging the history of the new universe and helping defend it. For a while, she hung out with the New Guardians and tried to help them usher in the new stage of human evolution. She eventually forged close friendships with the other ‘survivors’ like Lady Quark and Pariah, as well as becoming something of a mentor to Supergirl upon the young Kryptonian’s arrival on Earth. She was eventually killed by the Female Furies while helping to defend Themyscira from Darkseid.

Harbinger was revived as a Black Lantern during Blackest Night but she was destroyed along with all the others at the end of the event. There has been no sign of her in the New 52.

Harbinger could have — and should have — been treated like a major new female hero in the DCU. But writers never seemed to know what to do with her and editorial found her connection to the old continuity to be a troublesome spot.

What could have been!

Here are some other artistic visions of Lyla:

Art by Joe Staton
Art by Michael Turner
Art by George Perez