The mystery behind Kronus’s identity continues as Mark Waid and Stan Lee’s series begins to ratchet up the action and offer up some clues.
Previously in Stan Lee’s The Traveler: In the first issue of The Traveler, Stan Lee and Mark Waid presented readers with a time-manipulating hero doing battle with a group of renegade time travelers. Aside from the plentiful action in that issue, Waid and Lee kept the characters’ origins and motivations a mystery. They introduced readers to The Traveler’s world not through exposition but through action.
PLENTY OF TWISTS
While the mysteries keep going in issue number two, Lee and Waid throw plenty of twists and turns into the story to pique reader’s interest. However, while this issue is more substantial than the debut issue, there are still numerous questions surrounding the story. It isn’t known what the Split-Second Men’s plan is or who Kronus really is (although it is hinted at pretty heavily) but enough information gets revealed to make the characters and their conflicts much more compelling.
The reason this issue flows so well is because of Mark Waid’s writing. Waid keeps characters and events fun and energetic even with the small amount of information known about these people. One of Waid’s strengths as a writer is his ability to give great dialogue to every character he touches no matter how insignificant they may be. Waid’s characterization of Kronus gives him a sense of humor and vulnerability that makes him very accessible to audiences despite the fact that not much is known about him. He’s not a supremely confident hero nor do you ever feel like he knows what he’s doing at all times but, for the most part, it works. Scenes with Kronus dealing with visions he gets from the future are especially interesting. To watch him react so viscerally over these visions is an intriguing nuance to his character and definitely needs to be explored more.
AT LEAST THE COVER HAS A SENSE OF POWER
While the writing in this story does try to stretch beyond normal superhero introductions, Chad Hardin’s art doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from the pack. Hardin’s art serves the book admirably but he doesn’t quite do as much as he could with the solid script that he is working with. Colors are flat, characters are stiff and atmosphere is M.I.A. The action scenes are illustrated serviceably, but they never quite live up to expectations. Kronus fairs better when different artists illustrate him for variant covers and pin-up art. The variant cover by Scott Clark displays a sense of power by Kronus that is lacking in the interior art.
BOTTOM LINE: GIVE IT A TRY
Mark Waid has crafted some of the best superhero stories of the past 20 years (Kingdom Come and Tower of Babel are getting buried with me) and Stan Lee is evidently immortal. When dealing with legends like this it is best to give them the benefit of the doubt. Sure the story is a little ambiguous and there are more questions than answers, but these two know what they’re doing. If you have a little extra money, be sure to at least give this a try. It’s a solid read that gives audiences a change of pace from the overly-gritty superhero tales that come out every month.