Monday, January 18, 2021

Valor #10

Valor #10 (Aug 1993)
title: "Power Struggle"
writer: Robert Loren Fleming
penciller: Jeffrey Moore
inker: Mike Sellers
letterer: Bob Pinaha
colorist: Eric Kachelhofer
associate editor: Eddie Berganza
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Adam Hughes

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

unnamed Green Lantern Corps member "Old Timer" 

The Unimaginable, bad writing, bad art, bad editing

Valor is flying Pilgrim One, attempting to catch up to The Unimaginable, when he is attacked by four ships of the White Spider Gang. Instead of going outside of his ship to fight them off by hand, Valor decides to "out-smart" them by promptly maneuvering his ship directly into their flight path. He figures that they want Pilgrim One in good conditions, so they will get out of his way to avoid a collision. 

However, Valor doesn't know that the Unimaginable itself has appeared on the White Spider's ship and has murdered the crime boss. Valor is shocked to see that the White Spider's ship does not veer out of his way, so he takes evasive action. The White Spider's ship then hits two of his gang's ships instead.  Moments later, Valor and his AI companion, Babbage, see the Unimaginable emerge from the wreckage and destroy the other two ships. When Valor blasts it, the Unimaginable rides the particle stream as an entry into Valor's ship! 

What exactly is happening here? Can you tell? 

The Unimaginable wants the "Old Timer" Green Lantern, because she was the person who imprisoned it on Starlag II. Valor loses his powers, and is unable to fight back as it causes his own ship to animate itself into chains to hold him. 

The Unimaginable re-invigorates the Old Timer to "even the odds." It then tells Valor that the Old Timer returned to her solar system just after it had caused her sun to go super-nova. Hell-bent on revenge for the murder of her son and the rest of her planet, the Green Lantern unleashed her energy self as an energy cage, capturing the Unimaginable. When the planetary federation arrived, they sent the Unimaginable to Starlag II inside the Green Lantern. 

The Unimaginable now wants revenge for the years (?) that it was imprisoned, so it teleports to the nearest moon to have another battle with the Green Lantern. Of course, it prevents the GL from separating into her energy self. On the space-ship, Valor himself heats up so hot that he melts the metal (?) that had held him in place. 

On the moon, the Unimaginable blasts the Green Lantern with its energy. Valor arrives to put out her flames, then blasts the Unimaginable with his laser vision. The creature seems to be destroyed.  

Valor brings the Green Lantern back to his ship, feeling ashamed that he had dismissed her as an old kook. He never even noticed that the "Old Timer" was a woman. As he turns to plot out a course to the nearest medical facility, his fever returns and he passes out. 

Russell's comments: 
Let's start with the good bits, shall we? The Unimaginable has been destroyed and leaves this series, hopefully for good. For a cosmic being with near unlimited abilities, he was definitely wearing his welcome mighty thin. 

Other than that, this issue is....well, it's pretty bad. I don't want to beat a dead horse, but artist Jeffrey Moore is not very good. Either that, or he is not being served well by inker Mike Sellers. Just take a few glances at the pages we've reprinted above. The camera angles are awful, the perspective is bad, the shadowing is off, and the choreography is confusing. Exhibit A is page 7, where I guess that the Unimaginable as an energy being is supposedly slicing the White Spider into several pieces.....? I honestly don't get that impression from the illustration on the page. Do you? 

On the other hand, I have included page 3, with the close-up portraits of the White Spider and Valor, as evidence that Jeffrey Moore did have talent. These are great! Why couldn't he keep this level of quality? 

As for the story.....uggh. Valor suffers from fever, enough to melt metal bands holding him down? Really? The Unimaginable somehow ages the Green Lantern....or is her withering because she was separated from her energy self? Is she like the Doom Patrol's Negative Woman, or what? It's not clear and writer Robert Loren Fleming makes no attempts to clear it up. Instead we get several pages of super-nova deaths that are....morbid? Not necessary, in my opinion, and lies (according to the Green Lantern!) 

Speaking of the Green Lantern, isn't it common custom for them to carry their power batteries with them when they are on patrol? Where is hers? If she has no power in her power ring, how is she surviving in outer space? This is just stupid, stupid stuff. 

Next issue we get Mark Waid, and Oa. It has to get better, right?  

J's comments:
Woof. I'm just so lost by the entire story Fleming is telling through this series. The haggard Green Lantern, who still, by the end of this issue, HAS NO NAME, was secretly a beautiful young woman the entire time? Okay, fine. And to add to the revelations, she's essentially an alien version of Negative Man from Doom Patrol? I assume this was unique to her and not a trait of her species, or The Unimaginable wouldn't have succeeded in the first place. But we're given no further information other than she had an energy being within her that could, and did, imprison The Unimaginable.

As we were initially told in issue #7, The Unimaginable was "trapped within a living crystal inside a completely organic chamber". Was the organic chamber the energy being that lived within this Green Lantern? At what point did The Unimaginable, I don't know, absorb the energy being into himself? In this issue he magically restored the being back into the Green Lantern, so even though he has no control over organic matter, hence his imprisonment, he was able to assimilate this other being into himself? I'm just not sure how well this whole thing was thought out. This part, but also this series.

As for the art, yet again Jeffrey Moore's action sequence layouts all feel like he drew a great scene on a full page, then decided to just crop it down to one panel where (part of) a character's body is, in an attempt to give the scene some frame of reference. Russell's caption of "What exactly is happening here? Can you tell?" is how I felt multiple times throughout the issue. And I'm a comics reader who greatly appreciates the implicit fact that the art is an equal part of the storytelling, which is why befuddling action panels leave me so bewildered and confused. When the art is all you have to go on for a panel, or a sequence, and the art is essentially unintelligible, then it's like a bad jump-edit from the previous piece of the story to the one that follows.

The highlight of this issue was the extremely dark lines from The Unimaginble, first quoting her dead son's dying words, "Mommy won't let us burn!" And later, in a flashback scene where the Green Lantern was sifting through the ashes of her family, he tells her "The chunks are the bones, you know. They can withstand a lot of heat!" Absolutely brutal.

I can't believe The Unimaginable was somehow destroyed by a weird Valor eye blast, maybe because I still have no clue what's supposedly going on with his powers. But also because that was a villain who could destroy a sun. I look forward to learning about this Green Lantern far more than any of the continuing adventures of Valor, awkward super-powered '90s teen!

Daxamite Space Ranger Report:  
  • The Green Lantern is not named in this story. She is finally named in the next issue.  
  • The Green Lantern's home planet and/or district is never given. 
  • Although the Green Lantern mentions not having her power battery immediately prior to her initial battle with The Unimaginable, it is never explained where it had gone to. 
This series has never been reprinted.

This is the last issue of Valor by Robert Loren Fleming. He had written all but one of the issues up to this point. 


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