THE TRAVELER #1 (Boom Studios – November 24, 2010) Stan Lee, grand poobah; written by Mark Waid; art by Chad Hardin; colors by Blond; letters by Ed Dukeshire (covers by Scott Clark, Chad Hardin, and Joe Benitez)
The first issue of THE TRAVELER raises more questions than it answers in a furious, fast-paced debut. That’s in contrast to the first issues of Stan Lee’s other creation, SOLDIER ZERO, which seems more character-driven. However, with Mark Waid at the scripting helm I expect some fine character development once the setting and plot elements become established. For now, it seems smart policy to concentrate on introducing some of the players and quickly putting them through their paces.
Since Issue #1 seems singularly focused on action, action, action - - the best way for me to tell you about this book is to summarize some of those details:
The art by Chad Hardin is outstanding, and perfectly suited for the incredible amount of action/battle that goes on in Issue One. The colors and letting are very vivid and really make this book stand out.
Page One begins quietly enough with single mom Danielle completing her eye exam and driver’s license renewal at the DMV offices in Richmond, Virginia. It’s ironic that the eye chart she reads aloud spells out T-I-M-E B-R-O-K-E-N. As she exits the office, a bolt of lightening and/or energy crashes a street pole with a bank clock to the ground. A red-suited person appears with apparently magnetic powers and begins destroying things. He seems fixated on Danielle, who bolts to a nearby construction site to hide and avoid danger.
Just as two massive steel beams controlled by “red-suit” seem about to smash into her, a levitating figure emerges to “freeze time”, enabling her to move aside quickly and avoid death. Black-caped, hooded, and wearing a blue Ranger-like suit and military boots, The Traveler looks menacing and powerful (reminding me of both The Phantom and The Phantom Stranger with a dash of Captain Marvel/Doctor Strange - - yeah, that’s an odd combination but it’s exactly what popped into my head).
The Traveler controls the “flow of time within a localized field” that allows he and Danielle to fall in slow-motion, and enhances his punches in “speed time” with enough power to render Angstrom unconscious. During the rescue, we learn that “red-suit” is Angstrom, one of the three “Split-Second Men”, all with powers (including The Traveler) derived from universal forces. Angstrom has control over the electro-magnetic field. The Split-Second Men move through time, unlike The Traveler who can’t = “but I can play some wonderful tricks with it.” Danielle refers to The Traveler as “Kronus” based on an incomplete and damaged logo embroidered on his suit - - he acts surprised by the name as well but adopts it.
The Traveler continues to save more individuals (seemingly selected at random) from the Split Second Men and draws the attention of the media as well as a team of FBI investigators. They confront him just as he’s rescuing another victim from Splinter, who has matter-decaying abilities. “Kronus” seems to know a lot about FBI agent Julia Martin, including family and personal details, and tells her that “you have a hell of a future ahead of you - - I promise.” However, Splinter seems to be breaking that promise in fatal manner, as Issue One ends.
Everything happens really quick. As I pause to catch my breath, I await Issue #2. So far, I’m recommending both of the new Stan Lee books. Number 3 debuts next month.