Written by: Fred Van Lente
Art by: Henry Clayton
Lettered by: Dave Sharpe
Colors by: Brian Reber
Published by: Valiant Entertainment
Reviewed by: Kristian Horn
Do you like Doctor Who? Of course you do! What’s not to like? A time traveling alien jumping through time and space having eoic adventures…it’s an idea that’s practically formula made for comic/sci-fi geeks to fall in love with. But believe it or not…there are still some people who haven’t yet discovered the genius of everyone’s favorite Time Lord. Many of the excuses I’ve heard from some of the individuals in nerd-dom who refuse to accept the fun Jack Kirby-esque type of adventure Doctor Who offers is that they’re intimidated by the history of the show. It turns out that fifty years of continuity can be a bit off-putting for some people. Well, if you’re one of those people who feels like they’ve missed out on some great time-travelling adventure because it seems as if there’s too much stuff to muddle through with Doctor Who…don’t worry….Valiant has the perfect comic for you.
Now I’m not saying that Ivar, Time Walker, is a Doctor Who rip off. It’s not. There certainly seem to be enough differences that set it apart from the hit BBC science fantasy classic. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out there are enough similarities in the basic premise of the opening issue of Ivar that the comic certainly did make me think that someone at Valiant thought it might be a good idea to hop on the good Doctor’s gravy train. That’s not to say that Ivar isn’t a good comic. Ivar, Time Walker # 1 is actually a great debut issue…but I do have to say that the concept is derivative enough of Doctor Who that I felt as if someone in the pages of the book might exclaim, “Exterminate!” at any moment.
While Ivar, Time Walker, does seem to have its roots a bit too firmly planted in the mythology of Doctor Who, it does distinguish itself enough in that I was able to shake off my initial reaction of thinking that Valiant was bandwagon hopping and I was actually able to enjoy the book because of its own merits. Luckily, someone at Valiant was smart enough to recruit Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry (who has quickly become one of my favorite artists) to supervise the launch of this series. Best known to Valiant fans as the architects of the first arc of the Archer and Armstrong relaunch (which Ivar is apparently somewhat a spinoff of), Van Lente and Henry are able to kickstart Ivar in an entertaining and compelling fashion. The action kicks in from the book’s opening pages and doesn’t really let up until the very end of the book. The pacing in Ivar is nothing short of spectacular. Clayton Henry is a master of panel progression and Van Lente’s snappy dialogue and fun characterization keep things moving. Ivar, Time Walker, is one of Valiant’s best introductory issues and bodes really well for what looks to be another wave of new Valiant launches.
It will be interesting to see how this series progresses. It’s quite obvious to me that while this first issue is somewhat familiar in tone, things are about to shift very radically in the next several chapters or so. I get the feeling that the Doctor Who feel of this introductory episode was designed to pull fans like me in quickly and that subsequent entries may very well reveal an Ivar that is very, very different than what my expectations are based on the tone of this issue. Personally, I can’t wait to see what’s around the bend for this title. If Van Lente and Henry’s track record proves anything it’s that I should expect the unexpected and the final pages of this issue prove that.
While some fanboys may have a bit of a knee jerk reaction to the opening of Ivar like I did, once they continue to peruse this comic they will see a character and a story develop that distinguishes itself from that which it bears a strong resemblance to. By the end of issue one of Ivar, Time Walker, it’s very evident that this is a character and narrative that is very different than that of Gallifrey’s most famous citizen. What Van Lente and Henry give readers is a fun and enjoyable romp that has some seemingly dark layers that have yet to reveal themselves. I, for one, look forward to unraveling the mysteries of this comic as, much like the classic TV show that may have inspired him, it seems like there’s much more to Ivar than meets the eye.