After struggling to find the time, get it time, to review both issues of this series I decided that it was better to just talk about them on the same review so that at least I’m catching up with the series and not always falling behind. There’s more time puns I could do as well, but I’ll try to restrain myself. What’s interesting is that both issues present interesting rules for time travel. It’s the rules that interest us all and Narcopolis: Continuum provides very different rules from a lot of other time travel stories I’ve read or watched.
In the second issue we see future Eva present a message from future Ben to present Ben. The message is simple… delete the algorithm before your boss takes over the world. But this is Ben’s life work we’re talking about. He’s had a clear mission in mind since starting his work and now he’s so close. Eva tells him that everything they’ve tried to change in the past results in the same future and that the algorithm needs to be destroyed.
This is all interrupted when two Ambrose goons come to pick Ben up and bring him to his boss. Things don’t go well and Eva has to save him. She asks him to destroy the formula and instead he takes all of it and jumps to the past.
In the third issue we pick up in that past after Ben has broken into his childhood home only to be attached by his father. Why? Because Ben is dead. That’s where the rules kick in because the time travel is bringing Ben to a possible past. One that he didn’t survive which is very interesting. Suddenly we’re not just dealing with one-time line, but a mess of possibilities and Ben can’t control where he jumps. Ambrose on the other hand seems to be ready for him everywhere he goes.
The shit this hits the fan again as Ambrose’s goons come for Ben yet again and force him to make another jump, but not before he sees his father gunned down in front of him. Further into the past, Ben decides to go straight to the source and take on past Ambrose before he becomes rich and powerful. The problem is… Ambrose is expecting him.
What I really appreciate about this story and series is that it’s not sitting around building up the time travel. We’re thrown in and from that moment on the story just keeps moving. It’s very much an action thriller and I appreciated that. I hate movies that sit and make sure you understand that the time travel they’re presenting is real and then move on with their story finally (listen to this week’s Us Versus Movies: Time Lapse, to see what I mean).
Writer Scott Duvall continues to fashion a story that is interesting and full of hard choices. We’re really getting to know Ben and when he’s asked to throw everything away at the beginning of the second issue you know he won’t. How could anyone. Even with himself telling him he couldn’t do it. I really enjoy this conflict of emotions and direction that Duvall’s created. Ben isn’t necessarily a deep character, but he’s relatable and real.
The art and colorist team of Ralf Singh and Nicholas Chapuis keep the breakneck speed of the story going. The book needs to look like the future, especially since most of the past elements are still in our future. It does look like that. My only gripe is that it’s still too clean. I could understand when we’re at Ambrose’s building, but that continues with the rest of the world. Chapuis does what he can to make it look dirty and used, but there’s just not enough real objects in the background for him to color that way. I do really like the way the future tech was illustrated and used.
That kind of goes back into why I like this story and time travel stories in general. With time travel you can turn the story into multiple genres. We have a family drama going on, we have an action espionage moment, hardcore science at work and so much more. The team does a hell of a job keeping it altogether and making sure that as a reader you’re never confused. If you like time travel stories, then this is a no-brainer.
Narcopolis: Continuum #2-3 Writer: Scott Duvall Artist: Ralf Singh Colorist: Nicholas Chapuis Publisher: Heavy Metal Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/2/16 (issue #3) Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital