Up until this point Ivar, Timewalker has always explained complicated concepts in a way that was easy to understand, but with this issue I have to say I think a few things went right over my head. In the wake of last issues catastrophic ending, Neela begins this issue by travelling far back to Ancient Mesopotamia and a scene that readers of Fred Van Lente’s Archer and Armstrong run should remember. It was a nice touch linking the two series together, but sadly what followed didn’t sit with me as well as all the previous issues of this series have done. Indeed, what follows is a chaotic journey through alternate universes – a concept that hasn’t been explored in great depth in the rebooted Valiant Universe before – which ultimately leads to them entering a world where a war is being waged between anthropomorphic mammals and reptiles. I feel like the problem with this issue for me was that it lacked the direction seen in the previous two arcs of this book. I didn’t really see where all this universe hopping was going and due to the confusing concepts in play here, I ended up feeling not all that entertained. Indeed, the bulk of this issue seemed to be taken up by explaining the crazy science this book has delved into during its brief run, leaving less room for the fun antics that made me a fan. Things do start to lighten up again near the end, but the aforementioned mammal-reptile universe – wherein a tyrannosaurus rex rides atop a triceratops while dressed as a Roman centurion – felt a little too ridiculous even for this book which admittedly has been quite bizarre at times.
That’s not to say this issue was terrible; as I’ve already said there were some fun moments here and there, and I enjoyed seeing the apparent role-reversal that has taken place between Neela and Ivar. Additionally the artwork by Pere Perez and Andrew Dalhouse was strong, and helped deliver the jokes that actually landed well in this issue. However, I do feel that this instalment wasn’t quite up to the high standard Van Lente has set for himself during his fantastic run on this series.
I feel like perhaps this issue is intended to be a jumping-on point for new readers, and that’s the reason so much of the book is devoted to explaining the high-concept ideas that have been explored in the previous eight issues. Ironically though, Ivar, Timewalker #9 ends up being the weakest and most confusing instalment in this series to date, and may well turn away rather than entice those looking to get into this series. This is a great shame as I do really love this book, and previous issues have been truly phenomenal; I only hope that it returns to that level of quality with next month’s instalment.
Ivar, Timewalker #9 Writer: Fred van Lente Artist: Pere Perez Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Publisher: Valiant Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/16/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital