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THE TRAVELLER by Neil Gibson & Tasos Anastasiades | Published by Tpub Ltd.

Review by Paul D Houston

The Traveller is a comic about a lot of things. Time travel, inter-dimensional travel, aliens, The Soviet Union, strange technology and human greed. This story is a what if story involving the Soviet Union at the height of its power and a man who has the power to change history.

Ioseb, is a poor struggling peasant man in old world Russia. He is at his wits end, wife and child dead, his future bleak. He puts a gun to his head and is about to pull the trigger when, he's visited by a being in strange armor who appears out of nowhere. Ioseb reacts out of fear and in self defense, shooting the man with his last bullet, killing the stranger where he stood.

Ioseb fiddles with the gear, the stranger, now dead, is wearing and when he attaches part of it to his own body, he surprisingly finds himself pulled through space and time into a future world. A future world, where the Soviet Union is in absolute power. But this future Soviet Union is a technologically savvy one beyond recognition. Much different from the Soviet Union, we knew in our reality. They've perfected arcane sciences, jetpacks, armor for war and control chips for all its loyal citizens.

Ioseb is a stranger in a strange land and because of the technology now at his disposal, he is thrust deep into a maniacal plot between a secret cabal of rebels amongst this future Soviet Union and the scientists behind the strange teleportation gear he stole from the stranger, he met in the beginning of the story.

The plot in this 50+ page comic, unfolds deviously, as things for Ioseb only get harrier and more dangerous as each page passes. I won't give away the full story or the ending, but I won't admit to it being a good or even great story either. The Traveller is a fantastical story, full of imagination and speculation, but it has its flaws. I would have liked to know more about the aliens, essentially the catalyst behind this whole story and I would have liked to know more about the technology, that gives Ioseb his power to travel anywhere and anywhen he wants. The political drama of the comic, while integral to the plot, was very dry and to be honest, not really new as far as story ideas go. It's been done, although in different ways, and to be honest, more interesting ways. This future world with a technologically superior Soviet Union, is no different from the many stories of a future world where a technologically superior Nazi Germany rules. The creators behind this comic are simply substituting one cruel and tyrannical empire for another. It's just not that striking.

And the artwork, while it fit the temperament of the story, was often stiff and muddy. I think this book would have been better served if done in black and white as too often the coloring was overbearing and almost garish. Perhaps a simpler palette would have worked.

If you'd like to check out this comic, go here

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