Valiant has been on a tear with relaunches lately, with titles like Unity, The Eternal Warrior, and Ninjak receiving warm receptions from old and new fans alike. Well, the folks over at Valiant are continuing the the resurgences with Ivar, Timewalker #1, a re-imagining of the eldest of the Anni-Padda brethren.
Its probably best to think of Ivar, at least in this iteration, as a more sinister Doctor Who. The book has a lot of the same incredible situations, and even some of the same style, in terms of humor. The main difference is that unlike that other Timelord, Ivar is not really a benevolent discontent; he’s more ruthless pragmatist with a healthy side of charisma.
This issue begins with a young scientist, Neela Sethi, on the verge of a monumental, and time travel related discovery. Of course, Ivar interrupts her right on cue and what follows is a a scattershot journey through the timeline that may or may not have ripple effects on the rest of humankind.
This may be the first misstep for Valiant as far as their new lines are concerned. At times it felt like much of the dialogue between Ivar and Neeli was forced, as it never revealed anything pertinent to the content of the story. In some cases that’s fine–dialogue can also serve as a device to highlight character nuances, when done well, but here the attempts to be clever mostly fall flat.
Outside of the dialogue, the story itself just seemed to be all over the place with no real structure or focus to speak of; Ivar’s got to stop Neeli from doing something for some reason, but neither that reason nor what exactly it is Neeli is supposed to do are addressed particularly clearly. Often that sort of mystery is intriguing, but here instead of building suspense, the plot unravels into nonsensical explanations of extra-dimensions and malevolent humanoid robots.
The one thing about this book that did exceed expectations was the artwork; Henry and Reber have really outdone themselves as far as the action panels. As Neeli and Ivar traipse through time, it’s immediately clear that there will be no shortage of complicated situations, all rendered in the highest quality imaginable.
That said, unless you were a fan of the original, or just crave continuity in the Anni-Padda family, you may want to steer clear of Ivar.