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Strange New Kindle Worlds – Harbinger: Slow Burn

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Welcome to the first of what I hope will be many columns about the Valiant Kindle Worlds program.  Each column will explore one of the short stories, rate it, and try to determine where it can fit into continuity.  I understand that these stories are not canon, nor are they made to be, but I think it will be a fun exercise to see if we can make them fit.  I also understand that these short stories are raw material and not held to the same editorial standards as the comics, thus my ratings will be based on comparing these stories to other self-published material.  Or in my wife Karyn’s case (she’s reading these with me and we discuss them together) to her student’s work.

The other purpose of this column is to have a place where all these stories are catalogued so you can easily see all that Kindle Worlds has to offer.  At the end of each article will be a link to where you can purchase the story in the column, as well as a link where you can submit your own Kindle stories.  Periodically throughout this column we will take a peek behind the curtain and explore different aspects of the submission process.

Right now there are 84 Valiant short stories available.  So without further ado, let’s jump right in.

  • Harbinger: Slow Burn
  • Published: June 26, 2013
  • Author: Jason Starr – Best known in comic circles as the writer of Wolverine: Max and The Chill.  He is a two time Anthony Award winner.
  • Price: $0.99
  • Page Count: 29 Pages

Synopsis:

This is a coming of age tale where a young man named Justin learns that he has the psionic ability to control fire.  When he meets two members from the Harbinger Foundation he has to determine whether their intentions are noble or not.

Cover:

I like the cover a lot, although it has nothing to do with the story. Harada and Peter are only mentioned in this story.  The cover was done by Larry E. Watts and we will see his work again on another cover.  After looking at Larry’s blogspot page, I’m impressed with his work, and I’d like to see it in future Valiant stories.

Review:

I enjoyed the read. It was well crafted, but not amazing.  I never felt compelled to go on or sad when it was over, but both Karyn and I read it in one sitting, so it fulfilled Poe’s requirement of a good short story being one that maintains a singular effect, which is to say holds the reader’s attention for the duration of its length and in doing so drives home the power of a single message or mission (google “Poe and the singular effect” for more on this concept). The manner in which the story’s main character, Justin Fate, tells his tale unfolds slowly so that as you read you are not certain who he is or where he fits into the Harbinger universe.

All in all, I was least interested in Justin, but my interest perked up when characters I recognized were introduced.  Their introduction was plausible and vague enough that I never felt as though their presence was contrived. Unfortunately, this is Jason Starr’s only entry into the Valiant Kindle Worlds program, I would be interested in seeing his take on other characters, and particularly Shadowman since his bibliography is filled with Noir.

[author-post-rating]

Continuity:

This short story describes Amanda (Livewire) with “long wavy red hair.”  This would accurately describe the VH1 version of Livewire, but not the current incarnation.  This can be easily looked past.  A little harder to look past is when this story took place.  Amanda describes herself as being a double agent, working both for Harada’s Foundation and Peter’s Resistance.  We’ve never seen this take place in the comic books, and based on the way Harbinger: Omegas went it seems unlikely for this to take place.  The only time where the Renegades are on the run and Livewire is both employed by Harada and not imprisoned in the desert is between Unity #1 and #2, but that placement is a stretch.

Submit Your Own:

The Kindle Worlds program is really neat and you can even submit your own stories.  For Valiant you can submit stories for Archer & Armstrong, Bloodshot, Eternal Warrior, Harbinger, Quantum and Woody, Shadowman, Unity and X-O Manowar.  Click the link below to see how you can submit your own short stories.  Be sure to follow the guidelines and have fun creating!

Harbinger: Slow Burn is available here!

Originally from ValiantCentral.com

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