REVIEW: Ivar, Timewalker #3

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by CLAYTON HENRY
Cover A by RAUL ALLEN
Cover B by BRIAN LEVEL
Variant Cover by MICHAEL WALSH
Variant Cover by RAMON VILLALOBOS

Confession time? Once upon a time, about three years ago, I got on board the Valiant train with the XO-Manowar reboot.  Ten issues in, they were on eBay and were quickly snapped up. Now a couple of my Crusading colleagues may have kittens with this news and if I knew how Valiant would explode into the comic world, I probably would’ve kept them a while longer, although I did stop reading it after the Ninjak introduction.

This is my first foray back into the Valiant universe since then and I have to say I am pleasantly surprised.  As the title suggests, Ivar is a timewalker. His mechanism for his travels is the Tachyon Compass, which guides him to various time portals in various time periods.  As you can imagine, something goes wrong, with the Compass being stolen. Up to the plate steps Ivar’s travelling partner, Neela and starts trying to keep the what was, the what is and the what will be all in order.

The book comes across like a mash up of Doctor Who and Sliders. Writer Fred Van Lente does well to distract the reader with humour, which helps keep some of the more familiar elements in check. An appearance by one of Valiant’s other timetravellers is a pleasant surprise.  Of course, there is the usual warnings of “what is to come”, but this only serves as part of the overall arc.

Art is supplied by Clayton Hentry and whilst not outstanding, there is a comforting consistent  approach. The panel layout is effective, using different styles throughout the book, to panels on a white background to panels over a full bleed page.  This includes a mixed page with panels upside down to mimic farce and tragedy.  This kind of layout is always risky; which side do you read first? The problem is slightly exacerbated for a digital comic as the page flips don’t work as well as when you can flip the actual comic around.

Ivar clearly has his own agenda, and much like the Doctor, tends to go about things in his own way. It is an easy assumption to make that he knows everything that has/will happen, but is that true? Only time, as walked by Ivar and Neela, will tell.

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