I’m going to be totally up front with this review. I’m not the world’s biggest Mark Millar fan. There was a time in which I gobbled up anything he wrote and those stories for the most part still hold up with me today. Lately though… well I would say “not so much”, but it’s more like “not at all.” I have read the first issue of almost all of his Image titles and I haven’t made it past the first issue of any of them. I say that because I’m looking forward to the second issue of Chrononauts a lot! Now I also know from fielding a lot of second issue reviews for his titles that there’s a good chance this series could fall right on its face with the second issue. That’s a very real fear I have especially with how the first issue ends, but that’s not reviewable at the moment. Just a fear to point out on the horizon.
Chrononauts is about time-travel. Yes the good old science fiction genre of traveling to the past and then possibly altering it. Here’s the thing though… Millar is very fringe science/rock star with it. And it works.
After a brief opening we meet our two main characters: Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly. Corbin has been working on time travel and after a series of discovers that includes a fighter pilot jet in a tomb in Turkey, he knows he’s on the right track. He builds a time traveling satellite and sends it back to the Civil War. The feed is broadcasted all over the world and viewers literally view history unfolding in real time.
Now that’s good Mark Millar, but I would like to believe that artist Sean Murphy helped on the story as well given his background as a storyteller. What really works here is that the concept isn’t so heavy that it weighs down the rest of the story. So often Millar’s own idea bogs down the potential of the rest of the series, but here it feels light and like it can go anywhere.
The characters are well-rounded and come off as individuals which is nice. I hate to compare to other comic characters, but I really did get a Reed Richards and Johnny Storm vibe from them, but only if Johnny was a genius as well. They’re dynamic works as Quinn is very straight forward and reserved. While Reilly was charismatic and living by the seat of his pants. Unlike other charismatic Millar characters, Reilly wasn’t an obnoxious dick head. I actually liked his character because there was a reason to like him. He’s helping his friend and their bond is strong.
Murphy kills it on the art. If you liked him on Punk Rock Jesus or The Wake, then get ready to fall in love again. Seriously his art is very at home here. The Civil War sequence was amazing as it bounced around the world showing people watching the footage and then bled into the past and without missing a beat he captured that as well. It’s a time travel story so that guarantees a lot of different setting and periods to illustrate and frankly after just getting a taste of what Murphy does on this issue… the book is in good hands. The level of detail he puts into every panel is just insane. Quinns office has cords running everywhere and it doesn’t look out of place, but rather a realistic office area. Everything from Murphy’s buildings to his vehicles, is spot on and fucking fantastic.
You may be wondering why I started off telling you how much I haven’t liked Millar’s other titles, but when you see my score for this issue you’ll understand that I’m not giving him a free pass. The creative team has rightfully earned that score and I can’t wait to read more.
Chrononauts #1 Writer: Mark Millar Artist: Sean Murphy Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 3/18/15 Format: Print/Digital
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