|FRED VAN LENTE
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DF Interview: Fred Van Lente ‘breaks’ history in new Timewalker arc
By Byron Brewer
Plenty of big changes are in order for Ivar, Timewalker as the Fred Van Lente-written series shifts gears for its second arc, “Breaking History,” with May's issue #5. For the arc, the title will essentially switch over from a buddy book to an ensemble team-up. Ivar will recruit some of history’s most delinquent teammates, including his immortal brothers Armstrong and The Eternal Warrior, a sentient and wise-cracking Nanite from Bloodshot’s bloodstream, and a diabolical Twitter star called The Lurker.
It’s a despicable gang for sure, but a necessary one for the Valiant traveler’s most ambitious plan yet: Saving his friend and traveling companion, Dr. Neela Sethi, from—herself.
As the excitement builds for this adventure, Dynamic Forces caught up with FVL and gave him the once-over about what’s coming down when history is “broken.”
Dynamic Forces: Fred, have you been pleased with the very positive reaction from fans to Ivar, Timewalker?
Fred Van Lente: Oh, definitely. I really love the book, and it’s great when your internal reaction is mirrored by the external one (unless that reaction is, “Ooh, that isn’t very good”).
DF: What is it about this type of story – time travel, chronological conundrums – that many comic book and SF writers love? Does it represent a freedom of some sort, a special challenge?
Fred Van Lente: Well, I mean from a lot of the books I’ve done you can tell I have a huge love for history. History is probably what I read more of in my spare time than anything else -- way more than I read comics. So books like Timewalker let me explore that … although, that said, very little of the book takes place in the historical past, the vast majority will be in, basically, the present and the far future. But it is a genre that rewards careful plotting and unexpected payoffs, so do enjoy that too.
DF: I know the character has been around for awhile, but for the uninitiated, tell us who and what Ivar is.
Fred Van Lente: Ivar is a cross between Reed Richards and John Constantine, a super-scientist who’s also a bit of a bastard. He’s discovered these “time arcs,” natural wormholes that transport people to and from various points in history, and he fights those who would use them for ill.
DF: I understand you have something special planned for the book’s second arc, beginning with issue #5. What is “Breaking History”?
Fred Van Lente: Ivar rescued a brilliant scientist, Dr. Neela Sethi, from the minions of Oblivi-1, a sentient city from the end of time trying to destroy all history. Unfortunately, Oblivi-1 gets hold of her at the end of Arc 1 (spoilers!) and he has to go get her back. As Oblivi-1 orbits a black hole into which all of the universe is collapsing into, it is impenetrable by all known forms of four-dimensional time travel, so this prove to be a bit of a challenge.
DF: To rescue the kidnapped inventor of time travel, Ivar recruits some of the time stream’s greatest hellraisers. Can you give us any kind of non-spoilery roster? Or just a hint?
Fred Van Lente: Well, it’s not a big secret -- except for one member. Ivar grabs his immortal brothers, Aram, aka Armstrong of Archer & Armstrong, and Gilad, aka The Eternal Warrior. To say this bickering trio doesn’t get along is a bit of an understatement. It’s the first time I’ve written the brothers going on a quest together since Archer & Armstrong #0, one of my all-time favorite done-in-ones from a few years ago, so I’m super-psyched.
DF: Neela being kidnapped by her evil future self reeks of some of the best Kang the Conqueror/Immortus stories of Steve Englehart’s Avengers days. Any inspiration or homage involved there?
Fred Van Lente: You know, I love Englehart and Avengers, but I don’t think I’ve ever read that story? I’d love to say yes, but …
DF: How has it been working with artist Francis Portela?
Fred Van Lente: It’s great to be back with Francis, with whom I did MODOK’s 11 and Halo: Blood Line. DC stole him for many years, but now we’re back in the saddle with Valiant, and I couldn’t be happier.
DF: I know you will call this question an oxymoron (lol), but post-“Breaking History” any hints at Ivar’s future adventures?
Fred Van Lente: Let’s just say we find out why what Neela is about to invent is so terribly awful.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Fred Van Lente for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Ivar, Timewalker’s second arc, “Breaking History,” begins May 27th!
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