Monday, December 14, 2020

Valor #9

Valor #9 (July 1993)

title: "How To Win Friends and INFLUENCE People!"
writer: Mark Waid
penciller: Paris Cullins
inker: Ray Kryssing
letterer: Bob Pinaha
colorist: Tom McGraw
associate editor: Eddie Berganza
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Adam Hughes

reviewers: Jason "Anachronistic Kid" Knol and Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Green Lantern Old-Timer, Darkstar Chaser Bron

Captain Packard and his pirate gang

Somewhere, Valor is fighting somebody as a crowd cheers. For the third issue in a row, the new issue does not pick up from the last page of the last issue, adding to the general confusion of this series. On the second page we realize that Valor is fighting a group of thieves, and that one remains on the roof, holding children as hostages. 
Valor uses his heat vision to burst the pirate into flame, shocking him so that he releases the kids. He then blows the pirate far away with his super-breath. 

Valor returns to the crowd, soaking in its adulation. He then sees a beautiful younger woman giving him a cold look. An elderly gentleman comes up to him and feels his biceps. As he does so, he tells us about Packard's Pirates, who are robbing the miners on Baaltar IV (which is where we are). Valor finally lets us know that he only touched down here for supplies when he caught sight of the bad guys and waded in. 

He juggles three of them, to the crowd's delight, trying to impress the girl. Valor learns that Baaltar IV is under the protection of the Darkstar Chaser Bron, who just happens to conveniently arrive (in a sequence not very clear as to what is happening....judge for yourself.) 
The crowd eggs Valor on as Bron yells at him; Valor yells back, and pretty quickly Valor has challenged him to a duel. The girl that Valor has been trying to impress then walks off with "daddy." 

Later, back inside Valor's ship, he is cursing himself for being an idiot for speaking without thinking. The Old-Timer and Babbage the AI agree with him and try to convince him to somehow get out of it.  
The next day Valor tries to get out of the challenge when Bron arrives and unceremoniously drops a boulder on him. They therefore fight until Packard's Pirates arrive and attack them both. 
When they are blasted, Valor thinks Bron has fled, so he fights the pirates alone. Bron reveals himself as a disguised pirate, who destroys their cannon and their ship from the inside. 
Slightly humbled, Valor flies off as he sees Bron's daughter smiling at him. Because he's an idiot, or because he's cute? Or both? 

J's comments:
Before I even started the issue I was immediately happy to see Mark Waid's name on the cover. I hoped it would be a turning point for the series, but alas, it was only a filler issue. And yes, even though it seems to have completely abandoned the lead-in story, it starts with the first act of real heroism in the series' run! Valor saves two kids from some jerk space pirate. That's how you win over a superhero audience. Oh, we also get a decent display of his powers, for those who (blissfully) stumbled upon this as their first issue of Valor. Consider that-- if this was my first issue of Valor I would be on-board almost immediately.

This issue was a classic superhero one-off story. We meet the hero, see his powers, and he does a heroic deed within the first three pages. Then we get better internal monologue and character development than we had in the previous eight issues as Waid tries to rid Lar Gand of the annoying cocky attitude and smug arrogance that have shaped the character. And he does a pretty good job of setting up a story where Valor really does need to consider who he is and what meaning his actions have. And even though he's been offered guidance by a smarmy ship computer and an old, still-unnamed Green Lantern in previous issues, the wise advice of fellow hero Chaser Bron seems to actually get through to him by the end of this story.

I think this was as good an about-face for an ongoing series as a single issue can provide. The art was hit-or-miss, with weird continuity issues when framing our hero in different angles, but it was at the very least serviceable for the story. 

This series has never been reprinted.

This is the first issue of Valor written by Mark Waid. 


  1. Is it just me or does the art look like Mark Bright did layouts? It's not the Paris Cullins I remember fondly from Ted Kord Blue Beetle's first series and other places. Perhaps it's just the inker, but I got HUGE Bright vibes.

    1. I definitely didn't get a Paris Cullins vibe, either!