After Tintin, I finally come back to some French comics. In my country, and possibly in others, the Valerian and Laureline series is highly influential. It’s not really a surprise that Luc Besson decided to direct an adaptation. If you like the movie or not, the books are certainly better, even if the first ones are not really that good.
Who are Valerian and Laureline?
Written by Pierre Christin and drawn by Jean-Claude Mézières, the Valerian and Laureline series is a Franco-Belgian sci-fi comic book series that takes us to Galaxity, capital of the Terran Galactic Empire in the 28th century.
There, we met Valerian and Laureline who are two agents who protect mankind as they travel the universe through space and time.
Valerian and Laureline Reading Order:
At the end of this article, you will find the publication order, but we begin here with a recommended reading order. In France, we divided the series into two cycles. The Temporal Cycle and The Spatial Cycle. Let’s begin with…
I. The Temporal Cycle
Those books are all connected to the story of Galaxity. You need to read them in order.
- The City of Shifting Waters – Valerian and Laureline are sent to New York in 1986 to intercept Galaxity’s worst megalomaniac, Xombul-except that in 1986, the world is in ruins and New York is about to be swallowed by the ocean.
- Empire of a Thousand Planets – Valerian and Laureline are exploring Syrte, capital planet of a system of 1,000 worlds. Their mission is to discover whether the Syrtians could present a danger to Earth.
- Ambassador of the Shadows – Point Central is a multicultural space station that serves as a sort of United Nations to the galaxy. Tasked with protecting the new ambassador from Earth, Valerian is kidnapped alongside his charge in a lightning commando attack.
This is a two-part story, you really need to read them together.
- Châtelet Station, Destination Cassiopeia – Valerian and Laureline are on a new mission, but this time the duo is split up. While Laureline flies solo from planet to planet, on the trail of arms dealers and forbidden technologies, Valerian is on 20th-century Earth, teamed up with the eccentric Mr. Albert. And he, too, is hunting down technologies incompatible with the era.
- Brooklyn Line, Terminus Cosmos – The two Galaxity agents’ investigation into the elemental forces appearing on Earth continues. While Laureline follows a promising lead somewhere in outer space, Valerian is struggling to unravel the mysterious events plaguing our 20th century.
Again, this is another two-part story, you really need to read them together.
- The Ghosts of Inverloch – Galaxity’s orders are rather bizarre, lately. Laureline has been left on standby in a Scottish castle. Valerian, haunted by recurrent nightmares, has been sent to capture a sentient being as if it were a wild animal. And on Earth in the 1980s, members of the military and political elites are descending into madness one by one.
- The Wrath of Hypsis – The head of Galaxity’s Spatio-Temporal Service has joined Valerian and Laureline at Inverloch Castle. He explains to them the threat that looms over Earth: all of the recent incidents are due to the influence of the mysterious planet Hypsis. But Hypsis is a world that moves from system to system – it’ll need to be pinpointed first…
At that point, the story takes a new turn for Valerian and Loreline. Something is lost and they have to find their way home.
- On the Frontiers – On an interstellar cruise ships, a mysterious individual in full environmental suit is working hard to get to Earth. On Earth, meanwhile, another person in a spacesuit is exploring a nuclear reactor on behalf of its owners. That second man is Valerian, and since the disappearance of Galaxity, he’s been forced to make a living by putting his advanced knowledge and equipment to good use. But what he’s discovered inside the plant is extremely worrisome…
- The Circles of Power – Broke, without a job, their ship almost a scrap heap, Valerian and Laureline are stuck on Rubanis, unable to pay for repairs. So when a trio of old acquaintances introduces them to the head of the local police, who is looking for independent agents for a risky – but well paid – mission, they accept readily enough.
- In Uncertain Times – The (false?) gods of Hypsis are once again interfering with Human history. Tired of their lower status among their peers, the Trinity in charge of planet Earth opens communications with megacorporation Vivaxis at the end of the 20th century – an occurrence Valerian and Laureline’s allies report to the two ex-agents.
- At the Edge of the Great Void – Somewhere at the edge of known space is the Great Void. According to the gods of Hypsis, it’s the place where Galaxity’s Earth was sent and is being kept prisoner. Valerian and Laureline begin a discreet investigation, but it doesn’t take long before they start finding obstacles in their path.
- The Order of the Stones – On board Captain Singh’a Rough’a’s vessel, Valerian and Laureline finally make it to the Great Void, the unexplored empty space right at the very end of the universe. During their ongoing search for the lost Earth, the pair comes face to face with the Wolochs, a race of terrifying stone monsters.
- The Time Opener – The evil hordes of the Wolochs are rampaging through space, and everywhere death and destruction follow. Valerian, Laureline, and a few other brave souls are resisting. They’re hoping to use a mysterious artifact, the Time Opener, to banish the stones and bring back Earth.
II. The Spatial Cycle
Those books can be read independently from one another, in the order you want.
- The Land Without Stars – When a rogue planet threatens a new Human colony, Valerian and Laureline are sent to investigate and discover a barren, rocky surface … and a whole world beneath it! The people who live inside Zahir are unaware that their planet is hurtling towards disaster.
- Welcome to Alflolol – Technorog is a planet essential to the economy of the Terran empire. For 200 years, it has been a centre of industry, research and agriculture. Suddenly, the indigenous population – believed long extinct – comes back to the planet they know as Alflolol. They must be allowed back, and Valerian and Laureline are assigned to facilitate their ‘reinsertion’.
- Birds of the Master – Valerian and Laureline’s ship has crash-landed on an uncharted planetoid. The two castaways quickly discover a vast ship cemetery, leading them to believe that their arrival was not an accident. Before long, they make contact with a population whose sole purpose seems to be to gather and produce food for a mysterious ‘Master.’
- On the False Earths – Valerian, shot to death in an Indian fortress. Valerian, dead in 19th century London. Valerian, gunned down in San Francisco’s Chinatown… And Laureline forced to witness every demise on a succession of re-enacted pieces of human history. They must hunt down the mysterious architect of the false Earths….
- Heroes of the Equinox – Every 100 years or so, the infertile people of Simlanne send their champions to the sacred island of Filene, where the best among them will find and bring back the next generation. This cycle, though, the local heroes seem to fail repeatedly, and the aging Simlannians have sent for heroes from other worlds. Valerian, chosen to represent Earth, will have to overcome the tests and his competitors in a dangerous odyssey…
- The Living Weapons – Valerian and Laureline are down to making space deliveries. With Galaxity gone and money getting scarce, their aging spaceship is becoming a hazard, which is pushing Valerian into accepting questionable cargo. After a somewhat rough landing, our two ex-agents, on their way to deliver their goods, meet some individuals with very surprising gifts who claim to be itinerant artists.
- Hostages of the Ultralum – Valerian and Laureline take a break when a quartet of mercenaries board the cruise ship they are on to kidnap the son of the Caliph of Iksaladam. They end up taking Laureline as well. With the almighty Caliph offering a massive reward for his son’s return, Valerian’s quest to rescue Laureline is suddenly hindered by every bounty hunter in the galaxy…
- Orphan of the Stars – On the lam with the Caliph of Iksaladam, Valerian and Laureline are relentlessly pursued by the Quatuor Mortis, who are still after the enormous reward offered for the child’s safe return. Stranded among the Asteroids of Shimballil, they must evade the hunters, recover their ship, dodge profiteers and traitors…
22. Memories from the Futures – The story ended in The Time Opener, and Memories from the futures is not a regular book, but a homage to the series. It’s a way to add to the Valerian and Loreline. A bonus for the fans.
Valerian and Laureline Publication Order:
And now, for those who want to read Valerian and Loreline in the order of publication, here we go:
- The City of Shifting Waters
- Empire of a Thousand Planets
- The Land Without Stars
- Welcome to Alflolol
- Birds of the Master
- Ambassador of the Shadows
- On the False Earths
- Heroes of the Equinox
- Châtelet Station, Destination Cassiopeia
- Brooklyn Line, Terminus Cosmos
- The Ghosts of Inverloch
- The Wrath of Hypsis
- On the Frontiers
- The Living Weapons
- The Circles of Power
- Hostages of the Ultralum
- Orphan of the Stars
- In Uncertain Times
- At the Edge of the Great Void
- The Order of the Stones
- The Time Opener
- Memories from the Futures