Life-Time has a lot going for it, but then it also has a lot going against it. It’s bold in its visual storytelling, but then at times too bold. Falls back and forth from interesting to confusing, but ultimately isn’t a bad comic book. It’s just not quite a good one yet either. I find books like this to be the hardest to review. When they’re so down the middle that you have to be careful that your criticism doesn’t come off too harsh or heap too much praise. To put it plainly, Life-Time is a book that needs some work, but it’s starting off in decent shape.
The issue spends about half of the book showing our main character running with time paused, from some masked me. It honestly took me a minute to process a few of these scenes because the context wasn’t quite there. Even with the clock in the panel froze in time. The confusion comes when the main character grabs ahold and climbs some pigeons in midair. Since this is a comic, it wasn’t exactly clear as to what… was happening.
After this chase scene we meet the main man’s crew. A woman who may or may not be a cop that helps him with evidence and a man who may or may not be immortal. The story then heads to France for a spell and introduces the main character and his friend again. It’s unclear how the two timelines are connected at the moment though and even more confusing when a third timeline is briefly introduced at the end of the issue.
The first issue is confusing. There’s no way around that even if I wasn’t moderately interested after the opening. It’s just that the book spends a lot of time setting up the first/main time line and demonstrating the gimmick of time stoppage. Which isn’t bad. On this week’s podcast I even said that if the book had stayed there and then as a cliffhanger, introduced France it would have been better. Give the audience time to get to know the characters in one timeline before running off into another because the results are that we don’t get enough of any one timeline to understand what’s happening.
The art is good. Aside from the one scene that took me a minute to process, the art for the stopped time comes across on the page. It’s not perfect, but once you get it, you get it. It’s a difficult thing to convey the fact that time has stopped in a medium that has no movement to begin with, so I convey the effort. I honestly don’t know how Pramit Santra could show this any other way so it’ll probably always be a bit difficult for people to wrap their heads around.
Life-Time has potential depending on what the second issue accomplishes. If it slows down (no pun intended) and does a clearer job of establishing not only the timelines, but their importance to the plot, then the series will be interesting. Right now though, I feel like I don’t know what’s happening other than a lot of time stuff.