I’ve said it before, I’m a sucker for time travel stories, and the comics sure are churning them out! I’ve already reviewed Ivar Timewalker, Ei8ht, Titan’s Doctor Who comics, and I guess you could count Convergence, but more keep coming out!
Bill and Ted’s Most Triumphant Return by Brian Lynch, Jerry Gaylord and Penelope Gaylord for Boom! Time is: Bolognaise. Two issues out already, and I have to say, while I enjoyed the first, the second was even more fun. The series picks up literally seconds after the second film, when history’s two more important slackers realize they need to write a second song now. Fans will find the same humor and crazy time travel hijinks the movies provided – and an extra dollop of comics comedy, making fun of the medium – but more importantly, the same heart that endeared Bill and Ted to an entire generation. Because I didn’t have any use for so-called stoner humor, I avoided the movies for decades, but when I finally saw them, I found it wasn’t about that at all. Both the movies and now the comics are fundamentally about doing the right thing, and being rewarded for keeping a positive attitude. Each issue features both a main, continuing story, and a back-up with more indie-style art (the first issue’s strip by Ryan North and Ian McGinty is hilarious). Already hoping this 6-issue mini gets a follow-up.
Recommended? Totally non-bogus.
Chrononauts by Mark Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy for Image. Time is: Soft rubber. I am not a Mark Millar fan by any means, but Sean Murphy? Gah! Why do awesome artists keep pairing up with Millar?! Well, at the very least, I could get in on the ground floor of the next Millar-related movie (or isn’t he basically just producing premises for film option purposes these days?). That premise: Time travel is invented in our time, with much media ballyhoo of course, and one of the two inventors is lost in the time stream. In the second issue, we discover what he’s been up to when the other catches up to him. Now, I don’t want to give too much away, because every issue seems to bring with it a fundamental shift in the story. I find Millar rather restrained here. Though I recognize his cocksure amoral bros, the OUTRAGEOUS-in-all-caps bits are kept to a minimum. He does turn history into a playground for people who don’t necessarily care about its integrity, but that can be a fun spin on the genre (as proven by the aforementioned Bill & Ted). No surprise, though, Sean Murphy is still the series’ MVP. His art is gorgeous, human and detailed. Not only does he get to use the whole of history (and prehistory) as his canvas, he also throws in tons of references to other time travel stories.
Recommended? I would on the art alone! But this is a rare Millar story I don’t find irritatingly cynical and soulless from the first page.
The Infinite Loop by Pierrick Colinet and Elsa Charretier for IDW. Time is: String cheese(?). One thing about The Infinite Loop is that I’m not sure how time travel works yet, and I can’t decide if that’s a good thing. What I understand: Our heroes can move about in time freely, and use those powers to stop some evil timeline from messing with history, actions that cause anomalies, essentially anachronisms, that must be dealt with as well. But that’s just a backdrop to explore the concept of choice. The title refers not to a time travel concept exactly, but to the way we, as human beings, keep making the same mistakes, both historically and personally. As the story progresses, we’re treated to “Choose you path” diagrams that fit the theme as well. And it’s also the story of a same-sex relationship… with an anomalous entity. There’s a lot going on here. Charretier’s art evokes Darwyn Cooke’s, but is more cartoony, her layouts more experimental. She tries to get at the emotional core of the story through visuals, and makes the time travel sequences more abstract than Valiant’s similar powers set from Ivar, Timewalker, for example. I don’t mean to make it sound more high-brow than it is – our heroine Teddy does fight a dinosaur, after all – but it’s definitely a richer read than most.
Recommended? It probably tries to do too much, but I can think of worse complaints.
Past Aways by Matt Kindt and Scott Kolins for Dark Horse. Time is: An archipelago. Five time travelers from 1.2 million years in our future are stranded in the 21st-century (Past Aways, castaways… I just got that). We catch up to them one year later and they’re going out of their minds. An irreverent action comedy that actually is OUTRAGEOUS-in-all-caps at times, Kindt lets loose some pretty unlikable characters who hate our world and our small bit of history. Which doesn’t mean it isn’t entertaining, because it is. This is a writer known for complex interweaving storylines and an attention to detail. Past Aways seems fairly straightforward as of its first issue, though Kindt throws in a lot of cool gear and an HQ diagram. I look forward to the story getting more complex. Kolins is a fairly good choice of artist for this, light and dynamic, though I often wonder at his choice of layouts. Why certain panel shapes and arrangements? Why so much dead air on certain pages? Not sure there’s real thought behind it.
Recommended? A lot of imagination on the page. While a very different animal than Mind MGMT, Past Aways could be a fun replacement.
We can’t travel forward to find out if all these series pan out, but they each have something to offer fans of the time travel sub-genre. Let me know what you thought.
Siskoid once put comics in a Time Capsule, but he had to open those up again to read the stories.