By – Stan Lee, Mark Waid, Chad Hardin
I just got done with The Traveler #1, a new comic series by icon Stan Lee (you know who he is) and Mark Waid (Irredeemable, Incorruptible), with artwork by Chad Hardin (Spider-Man, Age of Heroes). Stan Lee’s touch is unmistakable here though i am not sure how involved in the process he is. The Traveler set out to present a familiar super hero style comic with some interesting twists, as the hero and villains all have powers based around the fundamental forces of the universe. The Hero, known only as Kronus, appears mysteriously to aid a woman thrust into the middle of a bizarre situation as super powered mad men begin destroying the city.
My reactions to this comic were mixed as I have a love/hate relationship with super hero comics. The Traveler seems pretty standard as far as the genres goes, and doesn’t really break any new ground. That doesn’t mean that the series will be bad, but i think it is too soon for me to tell. It does show promise, the ending is pretty hard hitting, and the series tantalizes you with clues about the direction that the series is going in.
However, I did have a few gripes, but they are mostly nit picky sorts and I doubt many people would notice. The powers of both the Kronus and the villains are supposed to be based on the four fundamental physical forces, but they seem to fall short in this way, especially Kronus, whose power is localized control of time, which is NOT a fundamental force, and one of the villains power seemed to be entropy/decay, which is also not a fundamental force. (Strong, Weak, Electromagnetic, Gravitational, in case you were wondering). I suppose it would be possible to get around this with some quantum physical explanation thrown in, but it did kind of jar me out of the comic experience. Second was that the issue was too wordy, with characters needlessly explaining what they were doing when or describing the situation. I know this is to bring the reader up to speed, but i really think there are better ways to handle this than with dialogue as that often makes the story seem rushed.
Aside from those two things, the series is interesting, and I will definitely give this one a chance. I would like to mention that Chad Hardin’s art works well with the story, making the scenes lively and dynamic and I think his art does sufficiently well on its own explaining what is happening in the story.
I hope to see good things come out of this series, and hope that the pacing changes to better accommodate the characters.