Monday, July 12, 2021

Valor #16

Valor #16 (February 1994)

title: "DOA Part Five: World Enough....and Time"
writer: Mark Waid
penciller: Colleen Doran
inker: Mischa McDowell
letterer: Bob Pinaha
colorist: Dave Grafe
associate editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Kevin Maguire (signed)

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

The Legion of Super-Heroes (Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Dragonmage, Element Lad, Saturn Girl, Triad, Ultra Boy) 


Valor dreams that he is still strong, invulnerable, and invincible, and not suffering from a case of lead poisoning that is slowly killing him. In this dream he finds Lori, the love of his life and the woman who "gives him his strength." But she then morphs angel of death!?! 
Valor wakes up with a start and finds himself, literally, a shadow of his former self. He is distressed to find no sign of Lori. He flies off in search of her, following her into an "energy vortex" which unceremoniously drops him onto an asteroid away from Baaldur. In the distance we can see three sycophants bowing before...the Time Trapper!? 
The Trapper creates a time warp out of which a horde of alien insects devours the first lackey and a dragon eats the second. As a third warp opens in front of Lori, Valor rushes forward. However, we then see that this isn't Lori at all. Lori is the hooded figure....the Time Trapper!? 
Before Valor can process what is going on, another rift opens and seven members of the Legion of Super-Heroes bursts out. Lori orders Valor to attack, thinking they are here for her. The Legion keeps Valor at bay as they try to reason with him, but he swears he does not know them. Saturn Girl does a mental scan and realizes who Lori really is, so she and Ultra Boy try to take her down. Lori frees Valor and time-ages some of the Legionnaires. Valor is still confused and angry at the demonstration of her powers. 
She throws off her cloak and tells him that her real name is Glorith, and that not only is she the person who took Valor's powers away, she's the only one who can give them back to him and save his life....and that she will, but only if he swears allegiance to her! 

Russell's comments: 
The cover by Kevin Maguire is awesome. It's not *really* representative of the story inside, but it is great. And I love the "jock" type expression on Valor's face as he grits his teeth and is ready for another assault with or from the dragon. 

As for the first thought as I was reading it and as I finished it was that it was probably produced quickly, under the threat of deadline. Check out all of the pages that have no backgrounds (four of the six pages set on Baaldur). Then the action switches to an asteroid in the middle of an energy vortex, meaning we won't need any backgrounds for the rest of the issue. Now check out all of the full page and half-page spreads (arguably six out of twenty-two). The art is not bad, except that two-page spread of Ultra Boy attacking Valor. That isn't very well designed, in my opinion. But it seems the art is trying to carry the story, which is a shame, because there isn't enough story here to warrant twenty-two pages of art. 
Don't believe me? Check out the two "reveals" in this issue, which are basically the same scene, shown twice! Lori as the Time Trapper is a huge concept, and it appears that she is admitting she is the Trapper on page ten. Then on the last page, she tells Valor that her real name is Glorith. And a universe of fans are heard to scream, "Who?" 
Okay, that's a bit hyperbolic, but come on, there is just no way that Glorith is more well known or more of a bad-ass than the Time Trapper. Her showing us her cleavage on page twenty-two really doesn't come across at the same level of drama as her reaching her hand out to Valor on page ten. And I would argue that if you know who Glorith is, you probably recognized her on page ten anyway! 

I mean, come on, how come the Legionnaires don't recognize Glorith as soon as they arrive? Have they never met her? If they have, doesn't she look the same with or without her cloak? Is she under some spell where her true identity is hidden? It's confusing, and makes the Legionnaires look stupid. All this time I figured that Lori was hiding in plain sight, because Valor and L.E.G.I.O.N. didn't know who she is. But the Legionnaires do....don't they? If they don't, maybe an editorial comment was in order. Saturn Girl seemed to recognize her telepathically, so I thought they had met before....? 

To sum up: twenty-two pages of the Legionnaires not recognizing a woman they should know, and Valor not recognizing that he was played. Glorith should have thrown off her cloak on page ten and admitted her plan. Valor would still have been confused, the Legion wouldn't look so stupid, and we would still have gotten the same "help me....or die!" conclusion we did anyway. 

And I know this is not pertinent to anything, but....boxer shorts? Valor wears boxer shorts?! I guess he doesn't need to wear a jock strap for a cup, but I never really thought of him as a boxer shorts type of guy. 

One last string of questions....who are Glorith's sycophants? She hasn't been shown meeting ANYBODY except Valor for the past six issues. Who were these people and what were they supposed to be doing? And how did they "fail"? And just because I'm a details-oriented guy....what happens to the woman who isn't Lori?!? She's saved by Valor (right?) but then disappears and is never seen again. Maybe she'll return next issue and turn the tables on Glorith?!  

The title is from the poem "To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell. The first lines go like this: 
Had we but world enough and time
This coyness, lady, were no crime. 
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day. 

J's comments:
At this point I can see this whole arc as being a long introduction for Glorith all pinned on the twist reveal at the end of this issue, which would've totally worked if I hadn't seen the ad Russell posted in the previous review. Which also means that everyone who was reading it as it hit the shelves back in the day would've seen the ad and had the reveal ruined as well. Bummer.

But how cool would it have been to have a primary Legion title and a spin-off on the shelves at the same time? That's not to say anything about the quality... Like the last issue, this penultimate installment of the D.O.A. arc seems very rushed, as noted above. Just like Russell, I was struck by Doran's minimal backgrounds throughout the book, although some very creative layouts help the issue shine. Unfortunately, Mischa McDowell's inking leaves everything feeling very flat.

The Time Trapper would've been so much cooler as a villain, but this has been such a drawn-out story that I have to trust Glorith will be something really special. It's super lucky (?) that the Legionnaires happened to land right on that weird asteroid in space. The idea that they're somehow further back in time now and Valor doesn't remember them or know them could make for an interesting team-up dynamic through the next issue.

I'm glad the story really progressed in this issue and we're finally getting to a point where the big bad has been introduced and something worthwhile might happen. If the next issue really wraps up the D.O.A. storyline then I expect a lot to be packed into the next issue. Here's hoping it wasn't as rushed as this one.

Daxamite Space Ranger Report:  
There is a public service advertisement about AIDS in this issue. Until I got to it, I was reading this story blissfully unaware of the conditions under which it was created. After I saw the ad, however, I re-read the story and then wondered if thin, dying Lar Gand was supposed to somehow symbolize AIDS victims? Look at how he is illustrated on page five: 
Maybe writer Mark Waid tried to make this story more an allegory about AIDS, but was shot down? There definitely could have been something there, as Valor's problem is biological, as his body turns against him. Call me a bleeding heart liberal, but I think the story probably would have been better if it had been more of an AIDS allegory. Oh, well, missed chances. 

FYI, here is the PSA from this issue. Am I crazy, or is there another version of this ad with Booster Gold not wearing armor? I vaguely recall THAT ad, not this one. 

This series has never been reprinted.

Lori is revealed to be Glorith in this story. I'm shocked; shocked that gambling is going on in this establishment. 

1 comment:

  1. Found the Booster out of armor one here