Monday, April 12, 2021

Valor #13

Valor #13 (Sept 1993)
title: "DOA Part Two: Future Shock"
writer: Mark Waid
penciller: Jeffrey Moore
inker: Mike Sellers
letterer: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Dave Grafe
associate editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Stuart Immonen & Wade Von Grawbadger (signed)

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

Lori the Sidekick; Triad and Brainiac 5 from the Legion of Super-Heroes

lead poisoning, xenophobia, bad writing, bad art, bad editing

Unlucky issue #13 opens with a portrait of Valor that I guess is supposed to be charming. It's reprinted below for your own perusal. For those of us keeping track, this now makes 12 issues in a row that don't open up immediately after the end of the previous issue. (You may remember he crashed landed on the last page of last issue.) He says here, "I'm not gonna die," which is just ignorant, as, obviously, everyone dies (unless you know that you're a fictional comic-book character; is this Animal Man?). Shouldn't it have been something like, "I'm not about to die!" or "I'm not just going to sit here and allow myself to drop dead!" I know this is supposed to show his bravery or something, but it doesn't really work. Plus, what's up with his expression? Side question I just thought of: are we *supposed* to think that Valor is stupid? 

Anyway, Valor makes his stupid comment as he and Lori have flown from Cairn to Daxam to try to find a cure for his lead poisoning. If you had forgotten, his anti-lead poisoning serum is losing its potency, causing Lar's powers to turn on and off at inopportune moments. Now it has begun to fail, and he is slowly dying of lead poisoning. 

The two arrive in orbit around Daxam but its defense satellites attack. By the way, we get NO explanation as to why Valor has brought Lori with him, either. Absolutely no background information is given as to who she is or what she is doing travelling with him. She's just there. In writing parlance, she is the supporting character our lead can talk to, instead of talking to himself. But as a plot-point, it doesn't make sense that she is there. Again, is the point that Valor stupid, or is the point that the writer doesn't care enough to establish her history or motivation? 

Anyway, Valor is concerned that his planet is suffering from a mysterious disease. Daxam has cut all communication with the United Federation of Planets, and Valor is determined to find out why. Something so bad is happening on Daxam that the planet is willing to use potentially lethal means to keep people from landing there. That scares him. 

Valor and Lori land and they go immediately to his mother's home. However, the whole neighborhood is deserted. They find quarantine signs posted on all the homes, so they head to the Science Center, There, its staff are too overwhelmed with work to speak to him. Finally he meets someone (an old friend?) who explains that post-Invasion, one of the exploratory ships came back from Earth with a stranded stray space-ship. They think that this group brought back a virus with them which is now killing Daxamites. 

Valor knows this isn't a virus at all, but lead poisoning. His friend ignores his diagnosis, so Valor and Lori fly off to find the lead space-ship to prove he is right. Along the way they rescue a mother and child from some type of badly drawn menace. See for yourself and tell me what is going on here: 

Anway, after scanning the whole planet but not finding the suspect space-ship, Valor hits on the idea of scanning the Science Center, where he finally finds what he is looking for. Valor throws the ship into the sun as Lori finds the frightened alien guest. Valor then searches the hospital for his younger brother, Del, and their mother. Inexplicably, Del is sure to survive, but their mother is close to death. In fact, she dies moments after she sees her eldest son. With that, Valor realizes that he, too, is fated to die. 

In the 30th Century, Triad is still "studying" Valor when the computer system suddenly "reboots" with no knowledge of Valor as a 20th Century icon or as a Legionnaire! 

Russell's comments: 
This is probably one of the worst comic-book stories I have ever read. The plot is minimal, the characterization is less, and the art is horrible. 

The best part of this issue was the advertisement for flood relief, with art by Jon Bogdanove and Dennis Jenke. Check it out. This is how comic work is supposed to look. The sense of action literally jumps off the page.  

How many issues does this series last, again? 

J's comments:
So. . . this was pretty brutal. I still cannot get over how much I dislike Jeffrey Moore's art. The opening splash page is so awkward, Valor looks almost ape-like, his smile makes me uncomfortable, and the entire page is a waste. I'm still trying to figure out why Lori is a part of this story, and why Lar is so immediately familiar with her. They act like they've known each other for ages rather than having just met when he saved her life, and she's totally blasé about this incredible space adventure she thoughtlessly agreed to join.

The fact that one of the most painful points of last issue-- Lar's lack of emotional response to Brainiac 5 explaining that he's going to die of lead poisoning-- was brought up on page two of this issue so he could clarify that "His diagnosis hit me pretty hard," made me chuckle. Lar's face in his retelling remains indeterminable, not betraying a hidden fear of dying or a brash confidence of his strength. It's just... a face. With an awkward attempt at noir lighting that wasn't in the previous panel.

And even though he had temporarily lost his powers (again) at the end of the last issue, here he fights a Daxam defense armada without issue, using all his powers, because "the anti-lead serum allows me to maintain my super-powers," despite the fact that they were not reliable. I can basically yadda yadda over the meat of this issue where the planet has been evacuated due to a "plague" which turns out to be lead poisoning from an alien ship. This has never happened to Daxam before-- they've never had an alien visitor in a lead ship. And of course, the brilliant minds at the Science Center decided to quarantine the survivors in the same building as the alien ship. Even if they thought this was a virus and the alien himself had escaped the building, why would they keep the ship within the building? Daxamite scientists are stupid.

In the end, Valor saves the day by wrapping the alien ship in some other kind of metal and whipping it into the sun. Voila. Oh, and then he gets to see his mother just before she dies... Once again, the panel of Valor screaming "Mother!" looks like he's performing at a rock concert rather than moments removed from having watched his mother die.

Legion epilogue, he's erased from history? Okay, whatever, see ya next issue I guess.

Daxamite Space Ranger Report:  
  • Lar Gand has a younger brother named Del. 
  • Lar Gand's father died during the Invasion; his mother dies of lead poisoning in this issue. 
This series has never been reprinted.

Lar Gand's mother dies in this story. 

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