The Doctor Who references come fast and furious in this issue of The Traveler, yet it manages to carve out distinctiveness. The biggest allusion comes in the form of the Time Eater. In Doctor Who, these creatures are known as Kronovores or the more modern Reapers seen in “Father’s Day.” The difference, however, lies in the appearance of the beast. In Doctor Who, the time devourers were avian. The creature seen in The Traveler is much more nightmarish, almost Lovecraftian and a surprise given that The Traveler is more or less straight scifi.
The jailkeeper’s appearance roughly traces the steps of the Valeyard’s disguise in Doctor Who‘s “Trial of a Time Lord.” However, the rationale behind the jailkeeper’s presence differs, and it’s intriguing that like the Daleks the enemy must preserve some of history in order to manipulate The Traveler into his clutches.
Once ensconced in Achronopolis, the Traveler meets up with some famous missing figures in history. Well, yeah, we’ve seen this before in lots of science fiction programs. Star Trek Voyager immediately come to mind, but Waid and Peyer exploit the plot device for tangential reasons, and they imbue a different feeling in the book. It’s difficult not to share in the Traveler’s joy at being given a once in a lifetime opportunity. That ebullience, Chad Hardin conveys with astonishing ease. It’s nice to see an artist that can impress with optimism as well as pure action. It’s also welcome to see artwork with vibrant colors instead of glimpses of a limited pallette amid shrouds of shadow lit by a firefly.
The Traveler doesn’t just rely on Doctor Who nods or science fiction tropes. Peyer and Waid orchestrate a meeting between the Traveler and a fellow prisoner that’s quite touching and alien in philosophy. You actually feel good upon reading and admiring the artwork in the scene.