Monday, June 8, 2020

Valor #3

Valor #3 (December 1992)
title: "She's The One!"
writer: Robert Loren Fleming
penciller: MD (Mark) Bright
inker: Trevor Scott
letterer: Bob Pinaha
colorist: Eric Kachelhofer
associate editor: Eddie Berganza
editor: KC Carlson
cover: MD Bright & Al Gordon (signed)

reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Lex Luthor, Supergirl
White Spider, Lobo

Valor flies away from Earth in his "worked-on" space-ship, Pilgrim One. He is enjoying the solitude of space until he is met by the White Spider Gang, who wants to steal the ship for themselves.

Valor wakes up in his space-ship surrounded by seven enemy vessels firing at him. He orders Babbage to raise the ship's shields. Babbage tells him that evasive action is required, but the ship is not programmed for evasive action. Lar therefore decides to fight it out, destroying one enemy vessel immediately.
The White Spider wants Valor's ship because "she's cherry." He orders his underlings to form a pattern around Valor's ship, and then they all simultaneously attach tractor beams on him, immobilizing him.
When he tries to fire on them, he can't because they are all out of range.
Valor decides to aim his own tractor beam at one of the enemy ships. This causes him to approach the ship at full speed. He raises his ship's shields just in time to smash into the enemy, destroying it.
Free from their tractor beams and desperate to escape, Valor calculates warp drive distance to his destination, even though the ship does not have telemetry capability in order to pinpoint their re-entry position. Once he has kicked off warp drive and enters the worm hole, he calculates potential re-entry locations. Unbeknownst to him, the White Spider and his remaining gang follow.
As he flies through the worm hole Valor reminisces about how he got to where he is. One week ago (six days after the end of Valor #2)  he finishes re-creating his space-ship, much to the chagrin of Lex Luthor's scientists. He christens it Pilgrim One. Lex tells him to fly it away, and with that Valor leaves Earth.
As Valor flies around (somewhere) we meet Babbage, the onboard sentient (?) computer installed by Luthor to keep an eye on him and the ship. He talks to Valor, lulling him into sleep.
We return to the "now," where Valor is asleep again. "Your story is so boring you put yourself to sleep," deadpans Babbage, just before he screams at the young man to wake up, as they are about to enter the Cairn system. Valor refuses to let Babbage fly, even though they re-enter immediately in front of a huge asteroid belt.
 Although the odds of impact are 96.8 to 1, they manage to survive unscathed. However, Valor's electrical system is shorted out just as the White Spider and his gang arrive. With no other choice, Valor surrenders.
However, when one of the gang fires a shot across Pilgrim One's bow, Valor loses it. He pops out into space and destroys three of the cruisers (leaving life support, because he's not a killer). As the remaining gang flies off, who but Lobo should arrive. Valor checks the damage to his ship, which is nominal but still noticeable. However, when Lobo insults Valor's ship, Valor decks him.

If I were ever to teach a class on writing, I think I would use this issue as Exhibit A as to what NOT to do.  Here are the main points of my imaginary lecture:
Don't "open cold." In other words, if we last left our protagonist at Luthor's Lab about to work on a space-ship, don't start the new chapter with our protagonist in a space ship under attack. Instead of creating instant empathy with our hero, you create instant confusion, i.e. "Did I miss an issue?"
Also, the "we'll fill you in as we go along" mentality is fine to bring readers who might have missed an issue up to speed, but if you are willfully skipping 6 days and not telling us what happened immediately, that's not a good idea. 
Lex "allows" Mon-El Valor  the use of the ship, but we don't get any details. Where is he going? How long will he be gone? Why does he want to leave? For a character who was just "settling in" on Earth over the last two issues, it doesn't make sense to this reader that Valor suddenly jumps in a ship and flies away, with no itinerary. 
When ending a flashback, don't ever say, "that was boring." The readers will figure that out on our own without any help, thank you. 
Also, to paraphrase Star Trek 5: what does a Daxamite need with a space-ship, anyway? If Valor wants to fly around the galaxy, why doesn't he just, you know, fly around the galaxy? 

The best part of this issue was the great coloring on pages 19 and 20 (reprinted above) when the console explodes and then Valor destroys the enemy ships. 

The worst part of this issue is....the plot. Who is the White Spider? Where did he come from? Where did he disappear to? Why does he want Lar's space-ship? What is Luthor's plot? We never know, and at this point I don't think we'll ever learn. 

One last question: how can a ship NOT be "programmed" for evasive action.....? Isn't that just speeding and turning? I can understand if a vehicle isn't BUILT for evasive action (no velocity, bulky shape, etc) but "programmed" for it? 

Anyway, hopefully next issue will be better, what with the guest appearance of one of my least-favorite characters ever. Oh joy, oh rapture. 

Daxamite Space Ranger Report:  
There is no letters' page in this issue.

This series has never been reprinted. With quality like this, I'm not surprised.

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