Friday, August 21, 2009

Valor #11...or in space, no one can hear you retcon!

TITLE: Valor #11


COVER DATE: September 1993


23 pages


Looking at the credits reveals that this issue is written by Mark Waid. I guess I never realized that he had written the latter half of this series. This has to be one of the earliest Mark Waid books I have, as I would imagine that this was before he had made a huge name for himself.

I checked my database and this issue was about three years before Kingdom Come, which is arguably the title that cemented his name into the annals of comic book history.

Further snooping in the database shows that I have some Waid books that are even earlier than this one. How could I have forgotten about The Flash...another book that could also arguably be considered the book the cemented his name into the annals of comic book history.

For me, I can see how that would've slipped my mind. I was a latecomer to The Flash, only jumping on board well into Geoff Johns' run. The only Flash book I had before those was Flash #62 from 1992, Mark Waid's first issue.

So anyway, to make a long story short, I didn't realize until I yanked this book back out that Mark Waid had written this title.

I enjoy some good Mark Waid books, so let's take a look at some of his earlier work

Fight The Power
  • Story: Mark Waid
  • Pencils: Jeffrey Moore
  • Inks: Mike Sellers
  • Letterer: Pat Brosseau
  • Colorist: Dave Grafe
  • Assistant Editor: Eddie Berganza
  • Editor: K.C. Carlson
We open up in Legion headquarters in the 30th century. Triad is daydreaming about Valor, conveniently bringing the reader up to speed on exactly who Lar Gand is, and why we should care. That's textbook comic book writing right there.

Through her dialogue with Catspaw, a fellow Legionnaire, we learn that one of Valor's earliest exploits was freeing a group of mutagenically altered hostages from slavery. He was able to help them build colonies across the galaxy, thus seeding the universe for the races that would populate the future and fill out the ranks of the Legion of Superheroes.

Wasn't there a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode similar to this? Obviously without the dreamy teenagers.

It's kinda nifty how they not only made him the inspiration for the Legion of Super-Heroes, but also directly responsible for their existence. But an argument could also be made about explaining too much, after all does everything need that much explanation? Can't the force just be the force? Do we really need midichlorians?

After our brief history lesson from the future, we are returned to the past which is our present.

And it's in the present where Lar Gand is currently having some serious issues with his powers. They seem to be out of control and are going off on their own.

It worked to his advantage yesterday, as his uncontrolled laser vision was essential in stopping The Unimaginable! Along the way they rescued a wayward, beautiful Green Lantern from it's clutches, who now lies comatose on his damaged ship. It's decided that they should head to Oa, in hopes of getting her some help.

As Valor checks in on her, his laser vision starts to go off, threatening her life once again.

I've heard of biological functions going off prematurely in the presence of a beautiful woman, but I think this is just a tad more serious than that.

That's not all that's going wild, however, as his super hearing kicks in with the slightest whispers being transformed into a cacophony of wild noises. It's too much for Valor, who starts to tear the ship apart trying to silence all of the pops, clicks, whirrs, humms, and blips that the ship is making.

Lucky for him, the Green Lantern has awakened from her coma and has managed to calm the rampaging teenager. His moment of peace is short lived, as they are informed from the ship that they are now heading directly toward an asteroid field. Normally, that wouldn't really be an issue, but Valor has damaged the ships controls during his rampage.

This is another one of those science fiction tropes that always makes me laugh...the surprise asteroid field! Seriously, can an asteroid field really surprise someone? It's not like they don't cover a wide swath of space...they can't be that hard to spot in advance. And do you really expect me to believe that after hiding out on Hoth for as long as the rebels did, that Han Solo had no idea that there was an asteroid field that they were heading straight into? I don't think so.

Back to the book, and Lar Gand is in trouble as his super strength is still out of control and every time he tries to touch the ships controls, he just breaks them further. The Green Lantern, who we now find out is named Alia, will pilot the ship for Valor as he flies outside to run interference with the asteroids, leading the ship to safety.

He decides to stay outside the ship for the remainder of the trip to Oa, so that he doesn't accidentally hurt his passenger again.

As they near Oa, Kilowog is training a new batch of recruits who have mistaken Valor off in the distance for a shooting star. Kilowog challenges the recruits to catch the star with their power rings. They soon realize that it's not a shooting star, but Valor is still in a spot of trouble as he's now mistaken for an intruder trying to attack Oa.

Held fast in a green prison, Valor desperately tries to warn the Lanterns that he's not the problem. The real danger is his out of control ship that is now bearing down on them.

Wouldn't you know it, but his ship just happens to be yellow! The whole might of the Green Lantern Corps is centered on this very planet, and a runaway yellow space ship is going to be the death of them.

Ahh, so this is what a Green Lantern story looks like from back in the day with the yellow impurity in full effect. Geoff Johns is seriously a genius for making this whole concept make sense.

I guess it's up to Valor to save everyones butt again, after all, it's his book...what did he expect? With a nifty homage to when Superman would stop a runaway train mere moments before the broken section of track, Valor grabs the nose of the space ship and manages to bring it to a stop inches from the surface of Oa. I'd reprint a panel of the action, but the cover by Jason Pearson pretty much sums it up better than any of the interior panels.

So all is well that ends well, as Alia is nursed back to health and Valor's ship is fixed by none other than Kilowog.

Although seriously, I've heard of artistic license before, but are we really to believe that Kilowog used that monkey wrench to rebuild Valor's ship? Let's just hope that Kilowog wasn't also in charge of nursing Alia back to health, as I'd hate to see the size of his stethoscope!


Mark Waid knows how to tell an entertaining story. This story is by no means Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow, but it does do a nice job of bringing the reader up to speed and setting the stage for big six-parter that follows hot on the heels of this issue.

As pure space opera, I can see what I enjoyed in this title. I've always liked my comic book with a slight sci-fi bent, and that's what we get here.

The only thing that really holds this book back is the artwork. I'm unfamiliar with Jeffrey Moore, which doesn't seem too much of a surprise after reading this issue. It wasn't horrible, just awfully uneven.

Take a look back at the pics that I scanned. All the drawings of the aliens are pretty good. It's the drawings of the plain old humans where the work falters. Combine that with some clumsy storytelling, and you have a story that never really gets a chance to build a decent head of steam.

That cover by Jason Pearson sure is nice though.


  1. Superb recap and commentary. Remind me of a mid-70s ish of Superman in which he couldn't turn off his powers - you may remember the superb JL Garcia-Lopez cover. On the train so can't check but I'd guess about #322 . . .

    I recall being excited about Waid joining this book, him being a talented up and comer - as well as Flash wasn't he also working on LEGION?

  2. Your memory is pretty darn was #321. I had to consult the almighty longboxes myself.

    It's amazing how consistent Garcia-Lopez has been over the years. His stuff on Metal Men in Wednesday Comics is just as good as his amazing stuff from the 70's and 80's.

    I always forget that Waid was involved with the Legion previously, as I never really read them much until the "threeboot".

    So was this title Waid's tryout book for taking over the legion? His reboot happened after Zero Hour in '94, so this would have been the previous year.

    One of these days I'll have to look into the earlier Legion titles. If you're a fan, I'm afraid the only Legion that has a chance of popping up on this blog is the occasional back-up strip from Action Comics.