Between work and a cold I didn’t get any cleaning done. Again. However, I do have something I can post this week so you at least have an article to read. Over on my other site I just finished reviewing all the issues I have of DC Comic’s run on Babylon 5, based on the television series that appeared in syndication and later on the TNT network. (You’ll see links at the end of this article.) Overall it was a good series, but for some reason DC Comics decided to cancel the full series, switching instead to a group of miniseries. However, only one was produced, the three-part In Valen’s Name. It serves as a sort of epilogue to the “Shadow War”, as we learn what happened to Jefferey Sinclair after he rode Babylon 4 back through time. Maybe I should explain, although I suspect only fans of the show would be able to follow after that.

Back when Earth and Minbar were at war for…whatever reason, the Minbari captured one of our soldiers, Sinclair. However, after studying him they found out we shared some DNA or souls or something and decided to end the war even though they were winning. Years later after Sinclair had left captainship of Babylon 5 he and some of our other heroes end up on Babylon 4, a space station that according to the promos at the time “vanished without a trace”. (Babylon 3 did the same while the first two just blew up real good.) During the investigation, Sinclar would end up becoming a “Minbari not born of Minbari”, the legendary Valen, who repelled the first attack by the Shadows. You’d have to watch the show to get the full explanation. It’s a long story.

Fans may have wondered what happened to Sinclair/Valen. That would be answered by Straczynski himself in this mini-series, taking place just after the Shadow War but before the War with Earth (which had been taken over by a less than friendly government).

Babylon 5: In Valen’s Name #s 1-3

DC Comics (March-May 1998)

SERIES CREATOR/PREMISE/WRITER (ISSUE 1): J. Michael Straczynski
WRITER (ISSUES 2-3): Peter David
PENCILER: Michael Collins
INKER: David Roach
LETTERS: Comicraft
COLORS: Prismacolor
EDITOR: Robert Graff

Just as Ivonava is talking about her previous encounter with Babylon 4, it reappears, broadcasting its distress signal. While Garibaldi is would rather send a crew to investigate the “Flying Dutchman” (thanks to BOTH of his experiences with the station), Sheridan wants to know “the end of the story”. Delenn joins them as they investigate the station, which appears to have been blasted to heck. On board they find another race of being they hadn’t encountered is also on board, and they want the B5 crew off of it. Delenn is able to find the history records and learn the fate of Valen and the end of the Shadow War.

That's our Garibaldi. At least I think that's him. Hard to tell in that shot.

The records tell the story of the Minbari/Shadow War from the perspective of a member of the Religious Caste and the Warrior Caste. (Missing is someone from the Working Caste.) They told of his forming of the Anla-Shok, AKA the Rangers (which I alluded to in today’s review of issue #11). There are also tales of Valen’s compassion to the two narrators, when one’s son dies and the other had to learn that there was more to war than fighting. They also learn of a third group, an outside race that joined the war, but misunderstood Valen’s message and were cast out for atrocities in Valen’s name. It’s this same race, still working on corrupted teaching, who are challenging our heroes for control of the station in the present. And with Babylon 4 falling to the planet to burn up they must learn to come together or they’ll all die.

The only Rule 34 that matters.

The story is told by Ivonava and her commentaries on the events shows why she was my favorite character on the series. While the spacesuits they were during the story (since B4 has no power) make it hard at times to tell who is who, when we do see the characters they’re spot-on for the actors. The addition of the Tak’Cha to the mythos shows how Valen’s teachings could be misinterpreted. There’s also a final good-bye from Sinclair/Valen about how he wishes he could stop the Earth/Minbari war, but then there would be no Babylon 4 to stop the Shadows.

Overall, In Valen’s Name was a great way to end the DC run, as an epilogue to the Shadow War arc. It’s highly recommended for the die-hard fans while casual fans may or may not want to make the effort to hunt it down. While it’s disappointing that there were no more comics made this was the best way to go out and I think the whole story has been told.

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