Story: Fred Van Lente
Art: Clayton Henry
Inks: Clayton Henry & Bit
Colors: Brian Reber & Andrew Dalhouse
What They Say:
FROM HERE TO OBLIVI-1!
Ivar, the man called Timewalker, has been through ancient battlefields, political assassinations, the beginning of time, the invention of time travel, the great wars, and the distant future. (And that was only in the first two issues!) Now, he faces his greatest threat yet…himself! What secret does THE TIMEWALKER hold that will unlock his interest in Neela and flip our very definition of time travel on its head? Can a man resigned to forever walk through time truly make up for the mistakes of his past? And just who is the mysterious sociopathic leader of Oblivi-1, and why does she have such an interest in Ivar and Neela’s time traveling team-up?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
On a field trip to prove the inviolability of time, Ivar and Neela are captured by Nazis and separated. To make matters worse, Ivar’s tachyon compass—the device that shows him the locations of temporal rifts—lies in the hands of a juvenile, sociopathic time traveler, and their window of time to retrieve it and use it shrinks by the moment. As Ivar’s brother Gilad Anni-Padda puts it, “That is a very confusing tale.”
Actually, it’s not confusing at all. It could be, and in the hands of a lesser writer and artist, it probably would. Time travel stories by their very nature can often set one’s head spinning with the looping, ouroboros-like plot and story contrivances too clever for their own good. Fred Van Lente manages to keep this tendency in check while at the same time throwing out some very heady science and bold worldbuilding.
At the heart of all this stands Neela. Although the series’ title is Ivar, it’s Neela that Van Lente centers the story around, and in this issue she learns some disturbing details about Ivar, driving a wedge between them that really wasn’t that far off from happening anyway, but still promises to take the story in new and interesting ways. Ivar strikes me as a person with plans within plans, so I wonder if all of this wasn’t set up by him for some larger purpose. However, what the purpose might be remains to be seen.
I like Neela quite a bit. She’s brave and smart in a believable way, and the way she talks often puts me in stitches. She often speaks in bro-talk, but there’s an awkwardness to it that makes it endearing instead of offputting or affected. She is also adorably terrible at smack talk (something she and I share, actually). For example, when she saves Ivar, she has to go off on her own to retrieve the tachyon compass. She bursts through a door and yells, “Nobody move! I’m a theoretical physicist on the verge of a nervous breakdown! I’ve got a robot brain and a silencer and I know how to use ‘em both!” It’s a pretty great line, and I’m fairly sure that no one has ever strung those particular words into that particular sequence before.
What makes Ivar, Timewalker so good is that Van Lente and Co. are able to balance an embracing of the weird, far out science and storytelling possibilities that come with the time travel genre with a clear character and clear stakes. This is why Clayton Henry’s art style is so suited for this series. His grounded, realistic style serves to ground us in the story and make the events believable. If this were more stylistic and cartoony then the chance of the reader becoming lost or unable to suspend disbelief would increase dramatically, but Henry keeps us in the here and now, so to speak.
Ivar, Timewalker continues to impress. This is Van Lente and Henry firing on all cylinders, crafting a big, bold, complex time travel story that manages to avoid the pitfalls of the genre. It’s proving to be one of the more entertaining and satisfying issues on the rack every month and if you haven’t given it a shot yet, you really should.
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Valiant Entertainment
Release Date: March 18th, 2015