Monday, March 22, 2021

Valor #12

Valor #12 (Oct 1993)
title: "DOA Part One: Prognosis: Negative"
writer: Mark Waid
penciller: Jeffrey Moore
inker: Mike Sellers
letterer: Bob Pinaha
colorist: Dave Grafe
associate editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Adam Hughes & Joe Rubinstein (signed)

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

L.E.G.I.O.N. members Phase, Strata, Brek, Lobo, and Vril Dox

The Time Trapper, lead poisoning, Vril Dox, bad art, bad editing

The Time Trapper is watching Valor as he fights guards at the LEGION head-quarters. Valor has arrived on Cairn and demands to see Vril Dox. Strata tries to stop him, and is swatted away. Lobo arrives and wants a rematch with Valor, but is punched out of orbit immediately. Vril Dox arrives and agrees to run tests on Valor to try to figure out why his powers are out of control. 

Zip lines don't take the place of actual action. 
Also, where is the light-source for this would-be dramatic entrance by Lobo? 
He's in darkness on his left, although he steps out of darkness on his right? 

No scene between Dox and Valor where Lar confronts Vril about trapping him on Starlag II and making him lose his powers in the first place, back in Valor #5. Isn't this why Valor would be mad about seeing Dox? I mean, I know that *I* would be ready to punch him in the face. Is that just me? 

Instead Vril Dox runs tests, verifying that Valor's power spectrum is indeed larger than it had been: when he's strong he is stronger than he had been, but when his power is gone he's as weak as a child. Suddenly, Valor happens to hear a cry for help and he flies off. 

Valor was actually lifting weights in the panel before this page. 
Go figure. Also, weird camera angle choices for the last four panels

On the surface of Cairn, (?) Valor finds a dino-beast attacking a woman. He is able to knock out (kill?) the creature. She tells him that her name is Lori. She and two companions were exploring the ancient caverns of Cairn when two prehistoric dino-beasts suddenly appeared and killed her two companions. The second beast arrives (where was it hiding, seriously, on a crater-packed area?) and tries to eat Valor. He escapes from its mouth but his powers fade again. Lori blasts it with a one-and-done weapon, so Valor uses his cape to break the creature's neck. Valor offers to bring Lori back to L.E.G.I.O.N. head-quarters with him, and she agrees. (They don't call anybody?)  (And yes, the story is as boring as that recap makes it sound. Check out this page of Valor fighting the off-screen dino-beast:) 

Didn't someone tell the artist that we paid the sfx budget, so 
he could draw the actual dino-beast here? 

Vril Dox tells Valor that his lead serum has somehow had its potency accelerated, and so is now inert. Therefore, Valor has only one month to live. 

Valor decides to go to Daxam to see if he can find a cure there. However, someone tells him something about Daxam, and he tries to fly out under his power but instead crashes on the surface of the planet. 

Russell's comments: 
My first thought after reading this issue and seeing the next issue blurb ("Things Get WORSE!") was: how could things possibly get any worse!? 

As I shake my head in disgust, I present to you two pages from this issue for your comparison. First, the scene where Dox tells Our Hero that he has a terminal illness and has only a month left to live (page 18 above). Please note how that totally dramatic plot hook is down-played here. Static poses, no close-up of our hero in shock, and a full-set point of view instead of glee in Dox in sharing this news, or shock in Lar in hearing it. It's a crime, really. But then not two pages later, on page 21 we get a full-page scene of a hole in the....moon? For THIS we paid $1.25? 

My hope is that writer Mark Waid looked at this issue, where he clearly tried to add drama and suspense and some humor to the going-ons, and he saw that artist Jeffrey Moore totally fumbled the script. Maybe Mark then went to the editor and begged for a new artist. We'll see what happens next issue. Remember, things get worse. Oy, vey. 

Jason's comments:
Let me start by saying that I love the Time Trapper and all DC time-travel stories, especially when they bring together characters from disparate worlds and timelines. Unfortunately, I don't see something so fun happening in this never-reprinted series. This issue actually flew by when I read it, as opposed to previous issues that dragged painfully. But as Russell pointed out, it seems that Moore's artistic choices frequently seemed to work against what Waid was trying to convey.

The Lobo cameo was fun, and it was nice to see him to clobbered so damn hard he was knocked out into space! But the entire bit on Cairn struck me as odd. Besides the fact that one girl (in need of saving) was left alive against space dinosaurs, Valor ended up killing these native creatures for following their natural instincts and attacking invaders. All told, I'm anxious to see where Waid takes this series.

On a final note, I was VERY confused when reading this on DC Infinite (fka DC Universe) because I couldn't understand why Vril Dox kept randomly turning purple. Thankfully, Russell provided scans of the original issue to confirm that my confusion was due to an incomprehensibly gross mis-coloring in the digital version of this issue. See?

Purple Vril Dox!!!

This series has never been reprinted.

From this issue, Mark Waid is the new writer for VALOR. 

1 comment:

  1. It was not the best series of all, but I liked the idea of Lar Gand working as a superheor, and gaining experience in that field previous to mmet the Legion.