REVIEW: Ivar, Timewalker #5

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by FRANCIS PORTELA
Publisher: VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT
Release Date: 05/27/2015
It happens with time travel stories. As soon as I start to read “what was, what is and what is it to come as it’s already happened” a build up of tension starts behind my eyes and just sits there till linear story telling reappears.

With Ivar however, the symptoms are quite the opposite. Ivar, in an effort to save Neela from herself, both in persona and in intent goes in search of some help.  The fact the self-assured time walker needs help should help the reader realize how dangerous the situation is. First stop is, I have to say, is one of my favourite Valiant characters of all time, the Eternal Warrior. With the bribe of fries and a promise of no involvement of fellow immortal Armstrong, as this is time travel that particular ship has already sailed,  a deal is struck.

The main reason this book doesn’t generate the sort of headaches I normally suffer with time travel is the craft of writer Fred Van Lente, who seems totally in control of all the various elements of continuity.  Despite it’s sci-fi trappings, the books a character book. Look at how future Neela talks to current Neela. The parents amongst you will recognise the simple logic of current Neela and the somewhat desperate “please make the conversation stop” comment of “there is no because” from future Neela.

This issue brings about a change in art, with industry veteran Francis Portela on point.  Based on previous work, which includes a variety of DC work as well as Star Wars, it seems a no brainer. In execution, you get well-organized panels with some good angles. More so, the characters remain consistent from previous issues. I, personally, would like to see more individuality in the artwork, but can see the reason for an “in-house” style for a still fledgling book.  Valiant have done well giving their books a feel of uniqueness, Ninjak and Bloodshot are both prime examples of the diversity of art style, so I would’ve liked to see this wwith this book.

There are times, when reading the book, you are actually rooting for Ivar to fail and for Neela to prove him wrong.  This investment is key for the book’s success. If everyone just agreed with Ivar or he did the right thing (as we see it) all the time we would get bored. Here, his machinations, which we aren’t sure are for the right reasons, keep us in as much flux as Neela. Unfortunately,we don’t have a future self to tell us how it all turns out, for which I for one am glad.

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