Jon Valor (Black Pirate)

Jon ValorTime for the second and last character appeared last week in Legends of Tomorrow: in Marooned, the team of “legends” answers to a distress call from Eve Baxter, another Time Master. When they reach her ship, they find out that it’s been assaulted and conquered by Space Pirates, who used it as a bait. The pirate captain is the cunning and charming Jon Valor, portrayed by Callum Keith Rennie…and it’s quite a surprise to see him here, since he’s a long-forgotten DC character. Valor is indeed a pirate, but he’s never been in space (he’s of the old fashioned kind), and despite being an outlaw, he’s not a bad guy either. Let’s see together.

Jon Valor was born in England, in the second half of the XVI Century. A loyal servant to the crown, Valor was concerned by the indirect war that was engulfing all Europe, and that was threatening England’s monopoly on the sea. Wanting to serve his country and His Majesty the best he could, Valor put his undoubtable skills as a mariner and a warrior at the King’s service…but, more importantly, at the service of justice and fairness, the great absentees of the ocean. With the blessing of King James I, Jon Valor became a corsair, and he personally assembled a crew of trustworthy and capable mariners that shared his vision of justice; with his ship and his crewmates, Valor set sails, and targeted whoever brought injustice and violence in the seven seas (most of the times, the evil-doers belonged to the Spanish fleet). Valor and his crew became legends, and soon it was clear that the values the corsair represented deserved more than a face and a name, they deserved a symbol who could live up to the legend he had become: donning a mask and a dark costume with a cape (later, the costume would have changed in many different blackpiratecomics1colors), Jon Valor became the Black Pirate, the terror of all the criminals at sea. Obviously, the Black Pirate earned himself quite a number of enemies, the most relentless of which was Don Carlos, a Spanish nobleman whose illicit operations had been foiled by Valor far too many times to be ignored. Don Carlos convinced Spain that the Black Pirate was a menace to the entire country, and personally received the task of arresting (or killing) the corsair, so that Valor and his men found themselves hunted down by the entire Spanish fleet. The Black Pirate’s way of operating, however, wasn’t only a problem for the King of Spain, as sometimes he also battled some fellow Englishmen who behaved like buccaneers: with time, Valor lost the total support of the Crown, until, of course, King James needed him back for the war against Spain.

As it was to be expected, the Black Pirate fought valiantly, but at last he got captured by the Spanish army, and sentenced to death. Believing him to be a threat as much as an asset, the King of England preferred to abandon him, needing him more as a dead war hero rather than as an active fighter for justice. In Spain, however, everybody knew the Black Pirate by fame, and his skills and courage were legendary: the King of Spain, Felipe II, made an offer to Valor, asking him to work for Spain in exchange of his life; Valor answered that he would have accepted only if he was granted the possibility to act according to his own principles, fighting for justice and fairness and not for national interest. A deal was made, and the Black Pirate and his crew had their lives spared. Spain rewarded the Black Pirate’s loyalty, and the hero pirate could continue to do what he had always done, albeit following a different flag (not that flags had ever meant much to him). In Spain he even found love: he married a local woman, and had a son from her, Justin. Things became unstable in Spain, and the Valors were forced to leave their home; the Black Pirate came back to England with his family, where he was welcomed back as an English corsair by the new king, Charles I. When Justin became an blackpiratecomics2adult, he joined his father on his ship, and became just as good as Jon was in the art of piracy. During a battle, however, Justin was separated by his father, and apparently killed. This proved to be too much for the old hero to bear, and he abandoned his mask and sword to retire to private life. Years later, Charles I in person called him back from retirement: a man donning the Black Pirate mask and name was attacking and robbing English vessels, and the King needed the original one to find out who was behind the robberies. Answering to his King’s order, Jon took the sea again, and embarked in this new mission…only to find out that the new Black Pirate was his son, Justin, who had survived the battle and had been saved by a family of Puritans. He was now collecting food and supplies to allow his new family to arrive to America…a task that his old man was happy to help him with. The King suddenly had two Black Pirates to deal with…

Jon Valor is a man of firm principles, who deeply believes in justice and fairness, and who fights for them even at cost of going against his own countrymen. As the Black Pirate, he’s an extremely proficient warrior of the seas, a nearly unbeatable swordsman, a skilled tactician and a charismatic captain; nobody is his equal when it comes to navigation and seamanship, and he’s even an accomplished hand-to-hand combatant, as some heroes of the future (the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America) learnt at their expenses when Epoch the Lord of Time transported him out of his era. At present days, the Black Pirate only appears as a ghost, giving advices to heroes such as Starman or helping the unexperienced Jack Knight in his battle with the villainous Mist. The justice the Black Pirate believes in knows to boundaries, being them by nation, or even by space and time: he will always fight for fairness, even after his own death.

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