The grotesque Abaris is no mean foe. Abaris has had the time to set up his own world fueled by the pettiness of his intellect. He possesses an army and cadres of mercenaries at his beck and call. Really, how can Abaris lose against a novice Traveler?
There are a lot of lame excuses to explain away the need for a villain to keep the hero alive: gloating rights, wriggling bait, a sale on rope and duct tape. Abaris' ultimate goals provide a strong rationale. He really does need the Traveler on the hook, though not in one piece, as his quite delicious dialogue notes.
Abaris would be Doctor Doom if not for his emotional Achilles Heel, and that's where Daavi and the Traveler strike. The Traveler makes a shocking sacrifice to stop Abaris dead in his tracks, and the Traveler's plan exhibits the keen mind of a critical thinker, which feeds into the characterization of a quantum physicist.
Daavi is more of a hands-on type of girl. She's a classic pulp heroine complete with exotic skin tone and trusty space age pistol, but Daavi proves her love for the Traveler to be genuine, and it's that depth that distinguishes her from others that fit her role. Here's hoping that the kiss between Daavi and the Traveler isn't a final one.
Chad Hardin structures anatomy in a way that's reminiscent of Gil Kane's, Gardner Fox's and Carmine Infantino's designs. Hardin's close-ups, his reinvention of traditional imagery, such as Abaris strapping The Traveler down on the torture table, and his montages of the Traveler's memory exemplify thoroughly modern illustration. The blend of old school with new school cinematography makes Hardin a find, and he's equally comfortable in portraying heartfelt emotion as he is with action. His artwork gives life to Daavi and bestows potency to the kiss.
Tristram Taylor also reviewed The Traveler #8. Read his thoughts, too!
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.
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