It’s quite ironic that a series seemingly influenced by Doctor Who is infinitely better than Doctor Who has been for the last five years, but Ivar, Timewalker manages to not only surpass it’s inspirations but also forge an identity of it’s own - and all in one issue. If you can’t tell, I really liked this book. I liked everything about it; the characters, the premise, the fan-service, and the awesome twist ending. To put it simply, in the space of just one issue Ivar, Timewalker has earned must-read status, and has started off Valiant Next on a high. So what about this series is so good? Let’s start off with the writing by Fred Van Lente which is shaping up to be some of the best of his career so far. Van Lente makes a relatively complicated concept not only easy to understand, but also very entertaining to learn about. This is due in large part to the way that he throws us into the action head-first, with the issue starting off with an exhilarating chase scene that had me on the edge of my seat. The best thing is, while there’s plenty of action in this first issue, it never feels like it’s at the expense of story-telling. Van Lente manages to pack in the action sequences while also finding time to set up his villains, give his lead characters a unique voice, and (as I’ve already mentioned) sneak in a twist that left me with my jaw to the floor. Anyone wondering how to write a model debut issue of a series need look no further than Ivar, Timewalker #1.
But Van Lente wasn’t the only creative force behind this issue, and when talking about this book’s strong-points we must also mention artist Clayton Henry, whose energetic artwork does a great deal to give this book its exciting, fun tone. Henry produces some fantastic work in this issue, which includes an excellent double-page spread following our two adventurers as they fall through time. The colours by Brian Reber are also great as the colourist gives each time period the pair fall through a very distinct feel of its own. Under a less capable colourist it’s very possible that all these settings could have blended into one, but that is certainly not the case here. I loved seeing all the different settings this book had to offer, and I’m excited to see where Ivar and Neela will go next.
I usually like to find at least one criticism about a comic when writing a review, but with this issue I really can’t do that. Van Lente had a lot of balls to juggle in this first issue, but somehow did it perfectly not only setting up a story with limitless potential, but also setting up two characters that I already adore. His witty dialogue kept things light, but there was still a great sense of tension that the next threat was right around the corner. Meanwhile the art team of Clayton Henry and Brian Reber work brilliantly together, meaning this book not only reads well, but looks great too. Plus, with no knowledge of any continuity required, this is also the perfect book for new readers – so if you’re new to comics or just to the Valiant Universe I implore you to check this book out. I really don’t have a bad thing to say about it, and I hope that it gets the success that it deserves.
Writer: Fred Van Lente Artist: Clayton Henry Colorist: Brian Reber Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/21/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital