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File:Valerian 2.jpg

Valerian is a French-Belgian comic book series by Jean-Claude Mézières and Pierre Christin published from 1967 to 2010. A French-Japanese Animated Adaptation of the series ran from October 2007 to March 2008.

In the 28th century, Earth is the center of a powerful galactic empire, governed along technocratic lines from its capital Galaxity. The basis of Earth's power and civilization is its mastery of Time Travel, which makes both instantaneous travel and control of history possible. An elite corps of time travel agents has been created so as to maintain order throughout time and space, and Valerian is one of its members.

After a trip to the Middle Ages to capture a Mad Scientist who was attempting to alter human history, he met a local girl named Laureline and hired her as his fellow agent.

The series was a key influence on Star Wars even though George Lucas won't acknowledge it (it is proven he owns the comic books though - Laureline wore a gold bikini a few years before Leia, Valérian was frozen in a big block of animation suspending crystal, some big villains are badly scarred humans hiding under dark masks, also most aliens in the movies are taken almost straight from the comics...) and The Fifth Element, where the author was actually hired to draw some décors and machines.


Valerian contains examples of:

  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Implied to be how God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit present themselves. Though for some reason, the Spirit is a slot machine while the former two appear as vaguely Italian looking humans.
  • Action Girl: Laureline.
  • After the End: The civilization of Galaxity was born of a global catastrophe that destroyed preexisting human civilizations in 1986, when a huge nuclear explosion near the North Pole caused arctic ice shelves to melt, resulting in global warming and a rise in sea levels.
  • All for Nothing: God's grand plan to erase Galaxity. Downplayed at first in that it didn't quite work out like he wanted it to but played perfectly straight in the end where Galaxity is restored to the universe.
  • Alternate Universe: When God prevents the 1986 apocalypse, it creates a new timeline for Earth, one where the planet has disappeared by the 27th century. Galaxity's Earth is brought back in the finale and both planets seemingly exist in two separate timelines or the cataclysm that precipitated Galaxity's founding was just pushed back a bit.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Galaxity as a whole is usually presented as this. While they do keep order in the Terran Empire and manage their house very well, they do brand themselves as The Empire and seem subject to some moments of Pragmatic Villainy. On the whole, they seem to subscribe to Necessary Evil a bit too eagerly and their aggressive colonization seems more Lawful Evil than anything else.
  • Anachronism Stew: One mission sends Valerian to pocket dimensions resembling Earth at various points in history, where the presence of anachronisms is a result of sloppy design by the alien intelligence being it all.
  • Animated Adaptation: Valerian & Laureline: Time Jam.
  • Anti-Hero: At first a regular action hero, Valerian grows into more of an anti-hero over time.
  • Arch Enemy: Though he only appeared thrice, and isn't even an antagonist in The Time Opener, Xombul is presented as Valerian's.
  • Art Imitates Art: The last panel of On the False Earths depicts Valerian and Laureline enjoying some time off in 19th century France in a scene that recreates the painting Luncheon of the Boating Party by Auguste Renoir.
  • Ascended Extra: Laureline was only ever intended to appear in Bad Dreams but she proved so popular that the writers decided to throw out the original ending and bring her to the 28th century.
  • Author Tract: The authors never waste an opportunity to make a political point.
  • Baby Got Back: While it would take some time for Laureline's rack to grow, her butt was always large and shapely.
  • Bad Future: What Xombul almost managed to achieve.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In a sense. Xombul wanted humanity to shake off their complacency and start open galactic conquest. Slowly but surely, Galaxity would start becoming Drunk with Power and begin a subtle conquest. Not quite what he wanted but he seems happy(ish) with the results when he's revived in The Time Opener.
  • Bald of Evil: Xombul.
  • Bat Deduction: The "logic" by which Emir deduces that Valerian and Laureline are from Earth in The Empire of a Thousand Planets.
  • Beard of Evil: Xombul.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Valerian and Laureline. A good pounding would probably have doubled the efficiency of their missions.
  • Blob Monster:
    • The alien entity simply known as The Master is a huge mass of protoplasm.
    • The Sufuss are a polymorphous alien species whose default appearance is that of shapeless blobs.
  • Book Ends: Valerian's first and last time jumps are via the XB27 space-timer and Galaxity's relays.
  • Buxom Is Better: In later volumes, Laureline's chest would become massive.
  • Can't Take Anything with You: A formal rule of time travel, and one respected more in the breach than in the observance.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: Justified, since space travel is based on instantaneous teleportation, itself an offshoot technology of Time Travel.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Laureline.
  • Clip Show: The last album is a Broad Strokes adaptation of everything from Bad Dreams to Heroes of the Equinox.
  • Continuity Porn: Every album, save On the False Earths, is referenced in The Time Opener.
  • Cool Old Guy: "Uncle" Albert.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The collective management of both Bellson&Gambler and WAAM, two large multinational firms who tried to make a deal with Space Pirates from the future.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Galaxity's civilization.
  • Deconstruction: In The City of Shifting Waters, Sun Rae and his followers loot precious artifacts like in every After the End story. As Valerian and Laureline point out, who's left to buy those artifacts now? All he's really doing is burning precious fuel by taking on unnecessary weight.
  • Dirty Harriet: In order to approach two Space Pirates, Laureline dresses up as a call girl.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: In In Uncertain Times, Valerian gets a powerful urge to read up on his history, confident that Earth will return.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Valerian in the early comics. For all that he's regarded as the best of the Time Police, his superiors treat him as a childish meddler.
    • Both Valerian and Laureline in the finale. Justified in that no one remembers Earth disappearing but it still grates on them.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Bad Dreams of course is nothing but this. Not only does Valerian have friends, there is honest to god, real magic, something the other books would always explain as a product of a Sufficiently Advanced Alien.
    • The XB982 doesn't appear in either Bad Dreams or The City of Shifting Waters with Valerian instead using Galaxity's relays and the old space-timers to get around. Valerian even lampshades the oddness of using a relay in the finale.
    • A weird example comes in the form of Sun Rae in The City of Shifting Waters. In his first panel, he's a well built man. In every subsequent one, he's more of a Stout Strength type.
  • Earth Is the Center of the Universe: It isn't. But the fact that it very easily could be is what scares the rest of the galaxy.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • The Alflololians don't seem to hold the humans' action against them.
    • Valerian and Laureline are rather sympathetic to Xombul in the Grand Finale. Justified since he's the only one who knows and appreciates the ringer they were just put through to save Galaxity.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Grumpy Transmuter from Bluxte. It's from Bluxte, it transmutes energy into matter after being fed a sample, and it's very, very grumpy - though Tsundere for Laureline.
  • Expendable Clone: Valerian gets lots of these in On the False Earths.
  • Fan of the Past: Xombul as he believes that's when Humans Are Warriors held true.
  • Fan Service: Laureline changing clothes are often opportunities to depict her in various states of undress.
  • Fish Out of Temporal Water:
    • Averted with Laureline, who, despite being from the Middle Ages, flawlessly adapts to life in the 28th century. This works in her favour later on when Galaxity is erased. Since she's not particularly attached to any one time period, she copes much better with its loss.
    • Another aversion comes in the form of Sun Rae as well in the Grand Finale. He rallies some alien smugglers and low-lives and heads off to Point Central to establish a new criminal empire.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Schniafeur.
  • Gainax Ending: The Time Opener wraps up the series by deconstructing it.
  • God Is Evil: Not only is he presented as The Don, he wiped out 28th century Earth on account of its advanced technology meaning the humans interfere with his tributes from other planets (and the humans don't worship him anymore) and is implied to be a Domestic Abuser to the Holy Spirit.
  • Gratuitous English: Often present in the original French version, as well as non-English translations. Sometimes from characters who really have no reason to know any English.

 Schniarfeur: Cool man!

  • Haunted Castle: Played with. Inverloch Castle in Scotland is supposed to be haunted, but this is in fact because it houses a time gate.
  • Heel Face Door Slam:
    • The human ambassador really did have a change of heart and now wanted to push for galactic peace but the other races had found out about his earlier plans for human conquest and booted the human race out of Point Central.
    • The Chief wasn't much of a Heel but he was a mild Jerkass and he did undergo some pretty significant Character Development in The Ghosts of Inverloch and The Wrath of Hypsis. When Galaxity is erased however, he does this to himself, asking that God send him to his time lost home. In the finale, he has no memory of the chaos that Hypsis wrought and is the same bean counting Napoleon that he was in The Bad Dreams.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Laureline has red hair and a personality to match.
  • Heroic BSOD: Valerian to a minor extent after Galaxity is erased. He spends a good amount of time looking at old records of his home. It would have been worse without Laureline.
  • Higher-Tech Species: Humanity. A broken down, lost colony ship (from Twenty Minutes Into the Future) possessed technology advanced enough to ensure an undisputed power base in a solar system that had a thousand inhabited planets.
  • Hollow World: Zahir in World Without Stars. It's own molten core acted as the inhabitants' sun.
  • Homeworld Evacuation: The Alflololians took a 4,000 year holiday and the humans moved in in the interim and set up a massive mining operation on their deserted homeworld. When the Alflololians return, attempts (largely half-hearted ones) are made at co-existence before the Alflololians just up and decide to find a new home elsewhere.
  • Honest John's Dealership: The Shingouz.
  • Hubworld:
    • Syrte in The Empire of a Thousand Planets.
    • Point Central, first introduced in Ambassador of The Shadows.
    • All the gods of the galaxy seem to reside on Hypsis.
  • Humanoid Aliens: Often but not exclusively.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Happens first to Laureline in The City of Shifting Waters. Valerian later ends up temporarily shrunk as well as a side-effect of impregnating an alien hive mother (see below).
  • Interservice Rivalry: The Spatio-Temporal corps seems to clash with the regular military a bit.
  • Interspecies Romance: The Shingouz really admire Laureline's beauty.
  • Landfill Beyond the Stars: Zomuk.
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: The New York relay is inside the Statue of Liberty.
  • Ludd Was Right: In Welcome to Alflolol, the low-tech, environmentally-friendly lifestyle of the natives is depicted as superior to the high-tech, industrial one of the human settlers. However, Alflololians having psychic powers which allows them, among other things, to travel through space without much technology. In fairness though, the Aesop of the story wasn't about technology levels, but lifestyle choices.
  • Mad Scientist: Xombul.
  • The Monolith: The Wolochs appear as spacefaring black rectangular monoliths. They also happen to be Eldritch Abominations.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Laureline.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Valerian's human built timeship is able to keep up with a God guided ship through space/time.
  • The Napoleon:
    • The Chief of the Spatio-Temporal Service.
    • The Governor in Welcome to Alflolol.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: More or less how Point Central functions with all its backroom dealings and bribes. Until the Shadows decide to clean up the place however.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Done on purpose in The City of Shifting Waters. Valerian and Laureline chance upon a discarded prototype for a time machine, and turn it into a functional one thanks to their 28th-century technological expertise. Once they're done with it, however, they restore it to its previous inoperable state in order to avoid any historical alteration.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: For all the power that the Holy Trinity wield, they're apparently very low on Hypsis' totem pole. Odd since their tribute planet, Earth, was home to the Higher-Tech Species.
  • Only You Can Repopulate My Race: In Heroes of the Equinox, an alien but human-looking civilization has a single hive mother who must be impregnated anew every generation. Valerian ends up getting the job.
  • Planet of Hats: Several of them, notably the homeworld of the Shingouz. In Heroes of the Equinox, Valerian is pitted against three champions, each from a different Planet of Hats.
  • Planetville: Rubanis.
  • Powers That Be: Many stories involve shadowy political or corporate powers, such as The Master in Birds of the Master, the greedy multinational companies Bellson&Gambler and WAAM in Métro Chatelet, Direction Cassiopeia and Brooklyn Station, Terminus Cosmos, the elusive rulers of Rubanis in The Circles of Power, and last but not least, the Lords of Hypsis whose influence is subtly behind almost every storyline.
  • Precision F-Strike: After staying too long in the 1980s, Valerian begins to pick up time-appropriate swear words which he uses with increasing frequency.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • The first time machine was built in the 20th century but couldn't function without the knowledge of a time agent from the 28th century. When Xombul tries to build one using the 20th century blueprints, and him not being a time agent, it blows up.
    • Living as a peasant in the 12th century, Laureline learnt to cook meals for herself. After being spoiled by the instant meals of the 28th century, she's gotten rather rusty at doing it herself.
    • Even though the law says that the Alflololians have a right to their planet back, their planet is a vital mining resource to the Terran Empire. The government is going to make every effort to invoke a Loophole Abuse and keep such an important asset.
    • It's mentioned that some areas of Point Central can't be accessed by certain species due to being designed for lifeforms from wildly different planets. One notable example is the Marmakas who live in a highly irradiated natural environment. As such, most communication takes place via viewscreens.
  • Rubber Forehead Aliens
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: The City of Shifting Waters takes place in a flooded, post-apocalyptic New York City.
  • Send in the Clones: Expecting a high attrition rate for his mission in On the False Earths, Valerian was cloned into dozens of short-lived copies. Most of them were expended in one go when the mission manager dressed them up as German soldiers, and sent them to battle in a live-action reenactment of a WW1 trench charge.
  • Sequel Episode: The Time Opener is this to pretty much every album but especially The Rage of Hypsis.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: In an interesting dilemma, preventing the apocalypse from taking place might jeopardize the existence of the characters' civilization.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Laureline is fond of fancy outfits tat show off her womanly assets.
  • Shout-Out: Prof. Schroeder in The City of Shifting Waters looks like the title character of The Nutty Professor, a supporting character in At the Edge of the Great Void is named Molto Cortes, a reference to Corto Maltese, and the philosopher Chatelard in Métro Châtelet, Direction Cassiopeia is a reference to Gaston Bachelard.
  • Single Biome Planet: Several of them. The most unpleasant one is definitely Zomuk, which is essentially a giant garbage dump for the rest of the galaxy.
  • Space Opera: As time passed, the series began to settle more into this.
  • Starfish Aliens
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: After Galaxity is restored, Valerian and Laureline decide that their myriad of adventures have changed them irrevocably and there's no place for them in the 28th century.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens:
    • Played straight in Ambassador of the Shadows, in which said Shadows are an ancient race with godlike powers.
    • Played with in The Rage of Hypsis, in which the Triune God of Christianity turns out to be three powerful aliens with a bad case of megalomania.
      • That said, they potentially go into Physical Gods territory considering the levels of power they possess, especially considering that they are apparently in the lower end of power scale on their home planet, where all the "gods" of the various galactic civilizations seem to reside. The fact that they manage to wipe the future of planet Earth from the timeline does imply that they can back their claim of divinity at least to a point.
  • Technology Marches On: Galaxity used to use space/time relays to get around Earth's past but eventually upgraded to the timeships. By the finale, Valerian mentions that most of the relays have been scrapped.
  • There Is Another: In On the False Earth, just after Galaxity has been erased, Valerian and Laureline meet Jal, another member of the Time Police who avoided being erased.
  • Time Police: The corps of agents Valerian and Laureline belong to.
  • Time Travel: The whole point of the series.
  • Translation Convention: It's taken for granted that every species understands every other species's language.
    • Averted in World Without Stars, a universal translator is evoked; also, both agents use mnemotechnic helmets (first seen in The Bad Dreams),to learn languages when possible before a mission. Due to the characters' job, they soon know enough languages to go around without a need to learn new languages all the time.
  • Unexplained Recovery: In the ending of Bad Dreams, Xombul is turned into a bird and locked in a cage. It's vaguely stated in The City of Shifting Waters that he had allies with Galaxity, since silenced, but nothing clear is stated.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The character scramble to ensure the polar ice caps melt in 1986 during The Ghosts of Inverloch and The Wrath of Hypsis but ultimately wind up playing right into God's hands, erasing Galaxity.
  • We Have Become Complacent: Xombul's motivation is to shake off humanity's decadence and start galactic conquest.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The ultimate fate of XB982, Valerian and Laureline's Companion Cube, their home for years, and the last piece of their timeline, is never revealed. One imagines that it was either assigned to some another time agent or it was just scrapped.
  • You Fail Economics Forever: The very existence of the Grumpy Converter from Bluxte necessitates this trope. The creature can multiply any small, precious object hundreds or thousands of times as long as it has enough energy reserves, yet it's treated by everybody as a handy source of currency instead of a highly illegal living forgery machine.
    • Treated as such by everybody at Point Central, where shady deals are the standard operating procedure. Laureline is supposed to keep it secret. Somewhat averted as said animal is very rare, extremely hard to catch, needs a thorough brainwashing by a team of professionals to actually be useful, and it has rather limited reserves. The costs of acquiring, and then keeping one, offsets their economical impacts. It is the most effective alternative to carrying around enough different currencies in a mission, but in the scheme of things doesn't offset economical balances that much.
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