By Dustin Cabeal
I honestly didn’t expect much from Echoes. I got the gist of the story quickly, and it’s somewhat predictable in its execution and outcome, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the story. Let’s tackle that cover because I’m sure some of you are curious as to what type of story this is based on that cover alone. It is a story about abuse, but it doesn’t glorify it or show it outside of one pinnacle scene. In this day and age of comics, I feel that it’s important to point this out first because I would hate for people just to pass on this book because of the interrupted subject matter coming from the cover.
And speaking of the cover, it’s quite brilliant as it reveals a lot of the story, but nothing that you’d be able to pick up on without having read the story. It’s clever for sure.
The story starts with a man abusing a woman and a young boy, Fred, watching from his closet out of fear. The year is important because it’s 1986 and as such, domestic abuse hasn’t even remotely been pulled from the dark. The boy decides he’s seen enough and attacks the man. We’re not sure how this scene ends until the story jumps to 2017 and we see the little boy all grown up. He’s shown being a dick head to just about everyone which… doesn’t have much relevance to the story outside of making him make a bad decision later. We learn that his mother was killed by her boyfriend in the previous scene and it changed the rest of his life.
After going about his day, Fred ends up flying his charter plane back into a storm. All because he doesn’t like being told what to do. Fred crashes because that’s what small fucking planes do in big shitty storms. When he wakes up, he’s told he was in a coma, and they had to give him a sic haircut because otherwise, it would be obvious to his mother that it was her little boy all grown up. That’s right; Fred is quick to figure out that he’s traveled back in time and is going to change things for his future. The question becomes, will he succeed and what will he have to do?
There’s a few things that this story does quite well regarding time travel. First, the FBI is all over Fred’s ass because of his plane not being registered and having equipment that’s not invented yet. They also look at his money which of course looks goofy and has dates from the future making him sound like a counterfeiter rather than a time traveler. Fred is also smart in that he doesn’t try to fuck around with time a lot. He makes a quick buck off a sports bet, but then everything after that just to protect his own future.
The dialogue at times is a little hokey. There’s a lot of forced drama, but for the most part, it’s a well-written story. It does get a bit too clever for its own good when explaining its title, but it’s by no means a deal breaker. It just felt unnecessary. At that point, if the reader didn’t get it, what good does the explaining do?
The art is very strong. It’s not perfect, but there was a lot of time and detail put into this story. The backgrounds are rich and full, and both timelines look accurate. The character designs are realistic, and each character is unique looking. What was very impressive was the fact that the vehicles were detailed and realistic looking as well. Even better, the characters and vehicles were at the same level of quality which is rare in comics.
The journey of this book is what makes it an entertaining read. Yeah, parts are predictable making it a standard feeling time travel story. The setting and the characters make it far from typical. The writing is sharp; the art is detailed and impressive making Echoes a stand-out book from Dark Horse.
Story: Mike Richardson
Artist: Gabriel Guzmán
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics