The Traveler teams up with Soldier Zero to combat a group of far future menaces that intend to strip the planet of its assets. Abaris also manifests, but this time he claims he’s here to help. I asked for an explanation of the ghosts that appeared last issue, and Waid and Peyer kind of answer, but it’s not very satisfying. In fact, there’s a heckuva a lot of technobabble spouted about that muddies the plot. The time travel aspects are actually easier to understand.
The World’s Finest motif with Soldier Zero being Superman to the Traveler’s Batman, works well enough, but it you don’t follow Soldier Zero, you’re probably not going to be all that enthused. He’s a perfectly decent character, but not all that resonant.
The Traveler’s interaction with Abaris earns the title another bullet. Abaris in previous issues is simply put a real bastard. This is the guy that facilitated the explosion that resulted in the Traveler gaining his powers, losing Julia and of course creating Abaris. Since then, he’s made the Traveler’s life hell.
Waid and Peyer present Abaris as a protagonist this issue, and they alter his dialogue accordingly. An incarnation of the villain for from the future, he almost seems delighted to see the Traveler again, as if he’s bumped into an old friend at Starbucks. He furthermore displays a healthy sense of humor about himself, and he grants the Traveler a wish. His warning to the Traveler and Soldier Zero is the most telling of his sincerity. I was impressed by this total transformation that even extends to more open body language designed by Chad Hardin.
The collusion with Abaris results in a superb comedic moment from the Traveler’s friend Nate. Nate’s and the Traveler’s expressions, the timing, the bursts of color contribute to a bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha instance of perfection, and that’s certainly enough to outweigh any confusion a reader might have when reading the graviton speak.
Ray Tate’s first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, “Spider Without a Web,” published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he’s young at heart. Of course, we all know better.