Before I start this review I should admit that I have not read every issue in this series. I read the first couple of issues, but not the recent ones. It’s not that I wasn’t interested; I just neglected to put it on my pull list and the issues sold out very fast. I’ve been intrigued by this series from the start. The Traveler’s origin is tragic and makes for some great motivation. I was impressed by the nature of the main character’s powers and how the writers keep innovating new ways to utilize them. I also liked the initial villains and how they each utilized powers related to the fundamental forces of the universe.
So here I am reading issue #8, and it’s obvious that some serious stuff has gone down. Despite my gap in continuity, this issue is quite accessible. I’m not quite sure who the green girl is, but everything else is pretty easy to figure out. Abaris has caught the Traveler and his companion in a trap. It’s mostly action here as Abaris and his goons try to capture our hero. I don’t think it’s spoiler-y to tell you that Abaris finally gets what he’s been after all along, but due to some clever planning gets more than he bargained for. There are definitely a lot of similarities between Abaris and Doctor Doom, but Abaris’ true ambitions would be much too trivial for Doom’s taste.
The cliffhanger is a sad one, but it’s a bit undercut by the fact that time and memory are so frequently manipulated in this story. Still, it does keep the reader guessing about what’s going to happen next. The writing in this series is impressive in that they constantly strive to create new powers and ideas instead of having our hero rely on the same tricks over and over.
As for the art, I absolutely love Chad Hardin’s work here. Whether it’s an action scene or a simple facial expression, everything is drawn clearly and beautifully. I particularly enjoyed the splash pages where Abaris finally gets what he wants. I have to say, I really like the Traveler’s costume design. A big part of that is the coloring by Chris Beckett, which is noticeably impressive throughout the entire issue.
As a single issue, this isn’t a great jumping on point, but it is pretty easy to understand. It has convinced me to put this series on my pull list to see what happens next. The Traveler is a refreshing new hero who cleverly utilizes a traditionally boring power set. This book is a great mix of interesting ideas, action, and humor. If you, like me, have been on the fence about this series, do yourself a favor and give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed.
Ray Tate also reviewed The Traveler #8. Read his thoughts, too!