This is an impressive comic-book. While I did have my doubts about this arc of Ivar, Timewalker when it began with the wobbly ninth issue, this eleventh instalment has erased those doubts entirely. This issue is so well-paced and plotted it really is a joy to read, bringing things full circle in clever and unexpected ways while also packing all the heart and humour this series has made itself known for. I’m hesitant to delve too deeply into story details in this review, as I think it would be a great shame to spoil the twists this issue holds in store for Valiant fans. With this in mind, all I’ll say is that this instalment explores the aftermath of Neela’s failure to prevent the null from destroying the dinosaur-ruled Roman Empire seen in the previous two issues. The issue begins ingeniously with a double-page spread showing a kaleidoscope of parallel timelines each with a different incarnation of Ivar and Neela. Most are fun references to some of cinemas most famous moments, while others are just visions into worlds where Ivar and Neela simply settled down and lived a quiet life. It’s an impressive-looking spread and a creative idea, very much a testament to the talent of both writer Fred van Lente and artist Pere Perez. Indeed, Perez does a fantastic job with the art throughout this issue particularly in the cinematic final act where the tension ramps up as things begin moving towards setting up next month’s twelfth (and last) issue.
While it has at times boggled my mind, Ivar, Timewalker has ultimately been a very fun ride and there’s no doubt I’ll miss this series after next month’s final issue. The characters of Neela and Ivar have become some of the most endearing in Valiant’s universe, in spite of the fact that they’ve featured in fewer issues than most of the publisher’s other major players. This in large part is down to Fred van Lente who has managed to fill each issue with humour, while not reducing them to joke characters – in fact, this series has had its fair share of emotional moments with this issue containing one of the most powerful to date. But that being said, this series never bogs itself down in doom and gloom either and the message it sends seems to be one of optimism. Indeed, Neela’s rousing speech on the preciousness of each and every second of the day, and the importance of overcoming negative emotions like regret and fear genuinely made me think about whether I’m living the fullest life I could be.
Ivar, Timewalker #11 is one of the most engaging single issues I’ve read in some time and sets up this book’s final issue as one not to be missed.
Ivar, Timewalker #11 Writer: Fred Van Lente Artist: Pere Perez Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/25/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital