Monday, December 13, 2021

Valor #21

 Valor #21 (July 1994)

title: "Sudden Death Overtime part 2: Two Minute Warning"
writer: Kurt Busiek special thanks to Mark Waid
penciller: Colleen Doran
inker: Dave Cooper
letterer: Bob Pinaha
colorist: Dave Grafe
associate editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Stuart Immonen & Karl Kesel (signed)

reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage 

Guest-Star(s):
Wave Rider, The Linear Men

Opponent(s):
time paradoxes, Glorith



The Braalians, freed from the Dominators by Valor, arrive on the peaceful planet Shareth to take it over, as the Dominators have destroyed their previous home. Valor shows up to stop them. He challenges leader and uber-macho warmonger Krinn Magar for position of War-Leader so that he, Valor, can order the Braalians to leave and they will listen.  
Elsewhere, the Linear Men argue with what turns out to be an after image of Valor. They rush off after him to send him back to the time stream. 
As the battle between Valor and Krinn begins, Valor suddenly splits into copies! The Linear Men choose this moment to arrive, too. However, the Braalians think that they are out to fight them, not Valor, so they attack the Linear Men!   

Wave Rider approaches Valor and breaks his chronal energy into individual particles....because, sure.

Now each Valor copy is temporarily semi-independent. This group of Valors finally manage to stop Krinn (we're on page 14!). Then he (they) demand to the Linear Men to be allowed to go off to do the deeds that Valor was (will be) famous for.  With evidently no power to back up their position, the Linear Men concede. Valors fly off. 

One Valor takes the Braalians to "new Braal," aka the Braal of the 30th Century, where they are happy to face off against the native metallic monsters. 
Valor's other copies manage to free all of the Dominators' prisoners and guide them to the planets they were destined to be guided to by him, in something close to the time allotted him (them?). Based on the pace of this issue, Valor actually clearly had plenty of time left! 
The Valors then show up before Glorith. She combines all of the Valor copies back into one man, then when he refuses to play any games with her, she gladly sends him into the Phantom Zone, per his destiny. With a determined look on his face and a trace of a smile, Valor fades away. 


Russell's comments: 
Ugh. 
This is a pretty bad conclusion to a pretty bad storyline. Valor was almost never the "hero" of his stories, and he's not much of the protagonist here, either. He seems to accept his fate rather than embrace it, which is a much less heroic portrayal than it could be. What if he had come to grips with his destiny and then demanded the time to finish his tasks? (I'm not going to even begin to argue that the story idea was a good one; Mark Waid et al definitely painted themselves into a corner with their badly thought-out plot.) His most heroic turn comes when he and his copies face down the Linear Men and tell them he (they) are going out on their missions. But with the Linear Men literally giving up without a fight, it seems more like empty heroics than actual sacrifice. Imagine if Valor DIDN'T have an army of temporal copies to help him? Now THAT would have been heroic. 

The art by Colleen Doran is the best part of the issue, hands down. Even when the story doesn't make any sense, or the plotting is awful, the pictures are pretty. Sure, the copies of Valor on that splash page are *clearly* actual copies, but that's kind of impressive, too. Sort of. Doran clearly has her heart in her efforts, even when the story doesn't deserve it. 

Anyhoo, for all intents and purposes this issue ends the series VALOR. The next two issues are part of the then on-going "End of An Era" storyline in Legion of Super-Heroes and Legionnaires, which ended the then-current continuity of those titles. 

In other words, the next issue doesn't start with Valor coming out of the Phantom Tollboth, or wherever Glorith sends him at the end of this story. The action starts after Valor had been in the 30th Century a big long while, and we check in on him and his pals just in time to lose the whole she-bang. So in my mind, this issue is the end of the Valor series. There wasn't much to it, and that's a shame, because Valor Mon-El Lar Gand as a character has a helluva lot of interesting points about him. 

Status: 
LSB reviews of Valor #22 and Valor #23 can be found on these pages. We won't be reviewing them again separately. 
This series has never been reprinted, and I seriously doubt that it ever will be. 


Milestone: 
This is the last appearance of Lar Gand in the "current" age of continuity. The last two issues of his book are set in the 30th Century and feature the entire Legion of Super-Heroes as part of the Five Year Later "End of An Era" story-line. It is not a continuation of this story. 

8 comments:

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