Story: Fred Van Lente
Art: Clayton Henry
Color: Brian Reber
Letters: Dave Sharpe
What They Say:
Ivar has been keeping a secret from his partner-in-time, Neela, this whole time, and once she learns the truth their relationship will be history! Literally! Join New York Times best-selling creators Fred Van Lente & Clayton Henry for the epoch shattering conclusion of our first (time)arc!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I can’t think of anything more horrible than being in a room full of versions of myself. I’m of the opinion that one Josh is enough (if not too many), and I don’t think I’d like the conversations I’d have with myself. This is exactly what Neela faces in this melancholy issue.
After abandoning Ivar in the prehistoric era, Neela travels to 2001 to save the only good man she ever knew—her father. In many ways, this is the reason she worked so hard to invent time travel. Her father brought his family from India to the United States in order to provide for them a better life. Although trained as a pharmacist, he couldn’t practice his trade in the US due to licensing issues. To make ends meet, he took a job driving a taxi, and on February 9, 2001, he suffered a car accident and died on the operating table due to an allergic reaction to anesthesia.
Neela rushes to the hospital to save him, but she’s stopped by herself. Literally. Another version of her drags her into a bar populated with even more versions of herself in various dress and moods. The issue chronicles her attempts to save her father and the complications she encounters. It ends with future Neela—the ruler of Oblivi-1—arriving and offering her a devil’s bargain.
Once again I find myself impressed with the way that Fred Van Lente manages to keep what could easily be a convoluted and confusing time travel tail straight and simple. There is sophistication in its simplicity, and I can’t imagine the hard work he had to do to make it look so effortless, much like the duck who looks so serene on the surface of the pond, but whose legs churn like mad where we can’t see.
Neela’s character arc continues on a good, even keel, and now we know why she becomes what she becomes in the future, making her an even more sympathetic character. It’s understandable why she takes the path she does, as it’s done out of love. Of course, many of our worst deeds are done out of love, which may be the point the story is trying to make.
Ivar barely shows up in this issue, but considering the strength of Neela’s character, that’s not a problem. The issue leaves him on the shore of some Precambrian sea, recovering from the poison of some prehistoric monstrosity, and moving on to his backup plan. It’s not revealed exactly what he plans on doing, but it involves finding his brothers, meaning that we’re going to get some Armstrong in the next issue, and I’m very okay with that.
Ivar, Timewalker 4 is another out-of-the-park issue by Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry. The writing is sharp and the art is excellent. As always, I’m impressed with Van Lente’s ability with plotting as well as the ease with which he writes characters. With Archer & Armstrong gone for now, this has become my favorite Valiant title, and if you’re a fan of time-travel stories, roguish characters, and adventure, then you’ll love this book.
Age Rating: T+
Released By: Valiant Entertainment
Release Date: April 22nd, 2015