Valor #18: Reviews Of Old Comics
Let’s see if we can’t get this tradition of reviewing old comics started again with an issue of the short-lived Legion spin-off, Valor. When DC editorial decrees necessitated the Legion of Super-Heroes writing Superboy out of their history, the inspiration for the Legion’s founding shifted to Mon-El, but renamed him Valor. This series followed the crossover event Eclipso which ended with a young Lar Gand earning the name Valor from Superman.
This series followed the growth of his legend but seemed to derail when Glorith, responsible for the rewriting of history that created Valor, started to meddle with his life in the 20th century, inadvertently causing his death before he could be the inspiration for the Legion. To top all of that off, an older Valor from the 30th century that had been lost in the time stream emerged just as Glorith and several members of the Legion stood shocked at the horrible paradox Valor’s death has created.
Writer: Mark Waid
Pencils: Colleen Doran
Inks: Mischa McDowell
Colors: Dave Grafe
Valor has died before he can create the inspirational legend for the Legion of Super-Heroes, despite the efforts of several Legionnaires that now are shocked to see their teammate, an older Valor, just emerged from the time stream.
Valor doesn’t recognize the young dead man right away, but when he does, he’s shocked. He has apparently died before he can create the legend of Valor and spend a thousand years in the Twilight Dimension Glorith banished him to. He tries to retaliate against Glorith, who is holding together the fabric of time.
Glorith informs him that the key to repairing the time stream is for the older Valor to replace his dead counterpart and do all of the things he remembers doing before, including being trapped for a millennia. Legionnaires are already starting to vanish, but Valor cannot face the torture of isolation again and flies off. The Legion give chase an Valor’s effect on the damaged time stream draws the attention of the Linear Men, protectors of the timestream, but even they are taxed without Valor reliving his legend.
In deep space, Valor comes across a war cruiser firing upon a surrendering shuttle. Valor moves to aid the shuttle but is shocked to find the warship vanishing when threatened, using technology to temporarily shift into another dimension. Using technology to drain Valor’s stored stellar energy, they capture Valor. The Legionnaires track Valor and discover that the warship that has captured him are 20th century Khunds.
Time travel, and paradoxes in particular are rough to write. Mark Waid does a good job of not focusing on the particulars. With so many characters other than Valor being able to knit up the effects of the paradox, Mark Waid mentions them all, and even with a hero as noble as Valor, Waid writes his response as understandable as it is necessary to move the story along. The Khunds capturing him seems a little out of place, serving to drag the story along. It’s not very effective in that it requires Valor to go from incredibly selfish to equally heroic, yet ignoring the responsibility that he is faced with.
I love Colleen Doran’s style, as it gives the Legionnaires the youthful look and still keep them as recognizable heroes. Her Glorith is beautiful, and her Valor is one handsome man. She renders the time storm very well, giving the colorist enough room to work in to make it impressive and fit within her own style. The style falls apart a little with the Khund ship, as the effect of it shifting looks a little too cartoonish and sticks out a little in an otherwise good issue. Given that she’s not inking her own work and is drawing rigid technology, hardly her forte, it’s very good, but I prefer to see her drawing more organic settings.
This issue has not been collected and probably never will. If you feel like you need to get it, though, it’s readily available in bargain boxes since it was part of the glut of the 1990’s just before the crash started. That’s your only outlet right now, because this is one of the few issues of Valor not on a digital platform.
FINAL RATING: 6.0 (out of a possible 10)
The first half is excellent, but the end doesn’t feel like it advances the plot and doesn’t take advantage of the artist’s strengths.