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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #20

We’ve reached the end of Acronym Week. Trust me– you’ll never see this one coming. I mean it.

1/20/07

20. FACADE (Full Acclimation Combat And Defense Explo-skeleton)!

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Mwahahahahahahahahahahahah! Oh, yes, I’m kidding. FACADE, while incredibly lame and, therefore, a Bill favorite, is not the subject of today’s entry. I wouldn’t inflict that kind of punishment on my readership.

So, alright, alright, here’s the real #20…

20. H.A.R.D. Corps (No, really.)

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HARD Corps was a series from Valiant Comics. Now, I’ll be the first one to admit that Valiant wasn’t really that good, but it did but out some books that were kinda fun. I think HARD Corps was one of ‘em. The series lasted thirty issues and numerous creative teams, some of which included guys like Dave Michelinie, Bob Layton, Yvel Guichet, and David Lapham (he pencilled #1. And that’s it. I think. Surprised me, too). And the first one had a cover by Jim Lee.

The HARD in HARD Corps stands for Harbinger Active Resistance Division. Now, I’m working completely from memory here, and most knowledge of the Valiant universe has slipped my mind, so I’m just going to paste in some info from the title’s Wikipedia entry: “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 causes the implants to explode, killing the Corps member if he or she was still alive.” There you have it. Suicide Squad meets Challengers of the Unknown with a neat superpower gimmick. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a cool concept.

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The characters had all sorts of cool GI-Joe-y names like Gunslinger, Shakespeare, Hammerhead, Superstar, Hotshot, Flatline, and the like. (Remember, it was the 90’s.) They had trainees and reservists and stuff who could graduate if a member got offed (which happened a few times).

The powers they could call up were kinda neat, too. There was your standard flight, invulnerability, energy shield, intangibility, invisibility, super-strength, etc. Some interesting ones would show up, though, like Tsetse, which put people to sleep, some kind of explodo-touch, neural spikes, and all sorts of energy, laser, electricity, and force blasts. When they captured a “Harbinger,” they put ‘em in the database in order to replicate their powers and stuff. And the gimmick was that they could only use one power at a time. That was a nice touch. Of course, when they didn’t use powers, they mostly shot people in the face.

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The title even had some sort of spinoff, the “Psi-Lords,” which took place in the far future! With Rao and Magnus, Robot Fighter! Awesome, right? Right? No?

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking; you’re thinking this comic wasn’t good enough to make the list of reasons to love comics. Well, I remember liking it. This was one of those series you found in five-packs for a dollar in department stores, and that’s where most of my issues come from (the rest were probably from a quarter box). I thought it was fun. The characters grew on me. It wasn’t a revolutionary series, but it was one of the high points of the Valiant line. Your mileage may vary, of course.

I have no idea how the series ended. I probably don’t want to know. But the series was well-done and an entertaining read. Sometimes, that’s all that matters, y’know?

14 Comments

Harbinger Active Resistance Division Corps? What the hell is a Division Corps?

Wait, you have no problem with “Harbinger Active Resistance” but “Division Corps” is too much for you?

heh, I love comics

HARD Corps deserves a spot on the list for the sheer randomness of its acronym alone.

I have found much fun in those bagged sets of comics one finds at department stores. Just trying to peek at the comics in the middle without tearing the bag is good fanboy fun. I never read Hard Corps, but from the description it sounds like the kind of title you couldn’t start reading without reading 30 more crossovers. What’s a harbinger anyway? That used to be the reason I stuck with Marvel and DC, but now, even after the latest crisis, there is so much baggage I shudder to think what a new reader must feel.

Sorry for the double post, but that Web of Spider-Man cover is as lame as lame can be. It looks like a mock-up that got printed by accident. The lettering is awful. The coloring is standard. The costume is beyond the pale. And why is Lance Bannon trademarked but Facade is not?

“why is Lance Bannon trademarked but Facade is not?”

I think it’s under the E.

I love how the textures they did on Facade’s costume just ended up making it look hairy. It looks like someone sprinkled back hair on his shoulder! But that’s just 90s comics for you. Typical of the era, you know.

As for the HARD Corp…I’ll take your word for it. Maybe try and issue or two sometime.

Don’t knock “Web of Spiderman.” That book got me into comics, and still holds a special place in my heart. In fact, I still have that issue with FACADE somewhere in my long boxes. That is a crappy cover, though.

Wait, the E in FACADE stands for Explo-skeleton?! Apparently they didn’t throw enough silly words into the acronym, so they had to combine “explosion” and “exoskeleton” for the final one. That’s awesome!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

January 22, 2007 at 4:13 am

“But the series was well-done and an entertaining read. Sometimes, that’s all that matters, y’know?”

I’m waiting for Dan Apodoca to respond to this one.

I liked most of the Valiant line. Harbinger, for example, was good right up until it jumped the shark. HARD Corps was too, but it started to drag and suffer from unresolved plotlines around about the time I ditched it. Actually, all the present-day Valiant titles started out good, or even excellent in the case of Shadowman, Solar and Harbinger, and then just sort of dragged and fell to bits. I stopped collecting just after they did an intra-company crossover where everyone fought Master Darque, who was basically a cross between Aleister Crowley and Prince. By that stage even the good titles were all soap operas with random plot twists calculated to irritate. And the bad ones were… Turok, Dinosaur Hunter. Or Ninjak. (Oh gods. Ninjak. Kill me now.)

It never got as bad as Infinite Crisis or Civil War, though. Could anything?

For some reason I own 2 copies of HARD Corps issue 1. Frankly I never saw any reason to own or read any further issues, even though I can’t see any sensible retailer pricing them at more than 20pence each.

FACADE was better.

I loved H.A.R.D. Corps! It was one of the better Valiant comics. You can probably pick up the whole series for under 10 dollars and the quarter bin is usually filled with these gems.

The Kirbydotter

March 10, 2007 at 9:47 am

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!
The anacronym week is over and no T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents!?!?

I am sooooooo very disappointed in you sir.
You should hide you face in a brown paper bag in eternal shame.
Really.

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