We’re going back to early 2018 to revisit an old column this week, because I recently reread the book and forgot just how much I liked it.
This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Ivar, Timewalker
My comic shop recently got the deluxe hardcover edition of Valiant’s Ivar, Timewalker in on a special order for yours truly, which collects the entire twelve issue run in one place for $40. You can also pick up the series in three softcover trade paperbacks, if you’re so inclined, but I’ve become partial to the oversized hardcovers (especially because of the bonus material in the back, but then I love that stuff). I had already read the final four issues of the series long before I started reading the hardcover, which some would think would be foolish, but when you’re reading a book about time travel then it suddenly becomes less foolish.
In order to give you a bit of context, you’ll find the preview text for the series below.
“At this very moment in Geneva, Switzerland, history is being made. A thousand meters underground inside the Large Hadron Collider, researcher Neela Sethi is about to discover time travel – and jeopardize her life in the process. But she doesn’t know that yet. Ten minutes from now, every deadbeat chrononaut, wannabe conqueror, and misguided protector of the timestream will be banging down her door. Good thing that the legendary Ivar, Timewalker, got there first…right? Now it’s down to history’s most jaded, most tempestuous time traveler to stop the worst of everything that is, was, and will be…before time runs out!“
The series was written by Fred Van Lente, who was joined by Pere Perez, Francis Portella and Clayton Henry with Robert Gill, the first issue being released in January 2015, with the final issue coming in December of that year. The twelve issue series is one of the more underrated offerings from Valiant Entertainment, as many people don’t tend to think about Ivar, Timewalker when talking about the great comics to have come from this publisher – myself included.
As a story about time travel, Ivar, Timewalker is a series that rewards multiple readings – indeed, you could reasonably start at the beginning of any of the three arcs within the series, though this is admittedly more difficult to do with the deluxe edition than the single issues or the trades. Van Lente put together a story that will leave you with as many questions as it will provide answers with an intelligent script that effortlessly blends a heartbreaking story of loss, hope and determination with a sly wit that will have you laughing out loud more often than you would expect in a series that, technically, isn’t a comedy.
Time travel, and effects travelers can have on history are touched on, and often provide some interesting flashes to a story that at its heart is a tale of two incredibly different people; Ivar himself, and Neela Sethi – the scientist who will invent time travel. For as fantastical as the scenery is in this series (and thanks to the artists, it truly is phenomenal), the true draw is the relationship between the two leads.
And that relationship is why you need to read this wonderful story at least twice. I didn’t realize how good this book was when I first read it, and I dare say it’ll only get better with time. Pardon the pun.
Time travel has never been so wonderful.
Join us next week where there will doubtless be another movie, series, comic or comic related thing discussed that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.