Monday, May 10, 2021

Valor #14

Valor #14 (Dec 1993)
title: "DOA Part Three: Yesterday's Hero"
writer: Mark Waid
penciller: Colleen Doran
inker: Mischa McDowell
letterer: Bob Pinaha
colorist: Dave Grafe
associate editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Stuart Immonen & Karl Story (signed)

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

Lori (Valor's companion/girl friend); Triad, Saturn Girl, Brainiac 5, and Cosmic Boy from the Legion of Super-Heroes; The Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, Maxima, and Superman from the Justice League

lead poisoning, time-displaced army, bad writing

In 30th Century Metropolis, a sudden chronal surge has all but erased Valor from history. Instead of living a legendary life in the 20th Century, spending 1,000 years in the Statis Zone, and then eventually being freed to join the Legion of Super-Heroes, Valor's "real" history is that he died of lead poisoning in 1994. The Legionnaires decide to time travel back to 1994 to find out what happened (will happen?). 

Meanwhile (?), their target, the 1994 Valor, is stopping a lion from eating an East Asian boy, who then thinks Valor is a "god." He and Lori then head to the United States, because Valor is not quite ready to give up and die just yet. He has come back to Earth to ask help from her heroes in an attempt to find a cure for his lead poisoning. Using his long-distance vision, he finds the Justice League and heads to them. 

Several members of the Justice League are busy fighting an alien invasion force that appeared out of nowhere. Valor and Lori helps out, but the JLAers notice that Valor does not look well. After the army is captured, Green Lantern does a scan of them and finds out that they are from the far future. Before anything else can happen, they all suddenly disappear. 

Valor mentions that their sudden appearance and disappearance reminds him of the dino-beasts that he and Lori faced on Cairn. Before they can get into that discussion, however, Valor explains that he is back on Earth hoping for help. However, the JLAers cannot help him. 

Valor thinks about asking Lex Luthor for help, but meets Superman before he actually does. Superman warns Valor that he doesn't trust Luthor, and that Life is measured in Quality, not Length. Valor decides not to talk to Lex. Instead, he asks Lori to set a course on their space-ship to a planet that needs Hope. He wants to go make a difference on some planet in what little time he has left. 

Russell's comments: 
The  big news this time around is the addition of Colleen Doran as the regular artist. After MD Bright and Jerome Moore, it's nice to have an artist who clearly likes the character and is happy to be here. On the other hand, the script is still crap, so there isn't a whole lot of actual difference, but gosh this crap sure does look nice this time around! 

With one glaring exception: what kind of African kid is that supposed to be, terrorized by the lion? Does Doran not know how to draw black people? 

Besides that glaring illustrative error, I am dissatisfied with the story this issue for one huge reasons: nothing really happens! Valor (and Lori) show up on Earth, ostensibly to ask Luthor for help, but then talks to Superman instead and decides....he's okay with dying?!? I'm shaking my head right now, because writing it down makes it sound SO inane. Also, didn't the Legion decide to investigate Valor's actual history LAST ISSUE!? Why are they still sitting around not time travelling?  The plotting of this series leaves a lot to be desired. 

Now that Valor is headed back into space (with Lori, but without his ship's AI, Babbage?) I'm sure the series will pick up again. (This is sarcasm.) 

J's comments:
Nowadays, a comic by Mark Waid and Colleen Doran would be a no-brainer pull list addition. But this comic came out 27 years ago, and they've both grown at their respective crafts substantially in that time. As Russell pointed out, this is yet another issue that doesn't do much to progress the story. The cover made it seem like the Legionnaires and JLA appearances would be a big deal-- because they should be! Alas, those brief cameos did almost nothing for the story. The Legionnaires decide to take a time bubble back to find Valor, then they're not mentioned again. The JLA does nothing, and then Superman has a brief heart-to-heart with Valor.
The bit with Valor attacking the lion... for starters, yes, it's poorly illustrated. And poorly written, because without question a scene where he saved, for example, a person from a (human, criminal) attacker would've been significantly more effective. You know, like in the next scene when he stops a (human, criminal) attacker from robbing a couple. And then we come to the discussion about how a super-powered alien is justified in attacking a wild animal for following its instincts and hunting lone prey in the savannah. Not only that, but Valor then yells at the animal as if it'll understand what he's talking about.

Just strange choices all around in this issue. I can only hope the next one will have Valor back in space, encountering the Legion, and making some sort of sense of this prolonged story.

Daxamite Space Ranger Report:  
  • Babbage, the space-ship's AI, makes no appearance in this story. You would think he would atleast be shown TRYING to contact his master, Lex Luthor. 
  • Hal's arm is shown in a sling. No comment is made about this, and I don't remember why or how he was injured. 
  • The letter page boasts a letter from our very own LSB Editor Siskoid 5, aka Mike DM Albert! He will write a special post about it, so check back here next week!
Status: This series has never been reprinted.

This is the first issue by Colleen Doran, who would be the next (and last) regular artist on this book. 

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