I recently took a break from Ivar, Timewalker, and having finally caught up over the last few days I have to say I was missing out – and if you’re not reading this series, then I’m sorry to say that you are too. This issue is the culmination of Fred van Lente’s four-issue "Breaking History" arc, and so perhaps isn’t a fantastic place for people to start reading, but if you’ve been following this series from the beginning then rest assured this is another fantastic installment. The ongoing battle against future Neela and her Prometheans continues, but if you were hoping for a neatly wrapped up conclusion then unfortunately you’re out of luck. To say this issue has an open ending would be something of an understatement, but personally I’m happy to see Van Lente taking his time with this story. It’s clear that he’s trying to tell a tale that is grand in scope and so to rush it would be unwise, likely leaving us with a sub-par comic-book. Besides, while this plot-thread has been running since the first issue, each installment of this series flows so well that the story has not once felt stagnant or overly drawn out. Part of that is down to Van Lente’s knack for being able to keep things feeling fun, while at the same time not undermining the high stakes and drama that this story brings with it. That can be put down to some excellent characterisation, with Ivar and Neela proving to be two of the most interesting double-acts in comics at the moment. I have also really enjoyed seeing Van Lente unpack the rocky relationship between the three immortal brothers Ivar, Gilad, and Aram, whose near-constant bickering is not only entertaining thanks to some sharp dialogue, but also makes these many-thousand year-old characters feel very real and very human.
Van Lente’s story continues to be packed with twists (I don’t know how the guy keeps coming up with them), and his story finds room for drama, comedy, romance and action – basically, everything you could ask for in a comic-book. All this is brought to life on the page by artist Francis Portela and colorist Andrew Dalhouse, who give this book its energetic look and feel while also playing a crucial role in ensuring Van Lente’s jokes land on target, mastering the subtleties of Ivar and co’s facial expressions and body language.
With issue eight, Ivar, Timewalker continues to be not only one of Valiant’s best books, but also one of the best comics I’m reading right now. It’s fast-paced fun, with a memorable cast of characters and a story that leaves you wanting more month after month.