By Dustin Cabeal
Never judge a comic by its title. That is going to be very hard to do with Time & Vine because it is very cheesy. IDW has been pumping out new IP’s, collecting web series and reprinting forgotten titles as they expand their IP’s outside of the world of comics. It’s a smart move, and one that I’m sure has helped a lot of creators see their work displayed on a bigger platform. Sadly, for me, I haven’t enjoyed any of the titles I’ve read. Granted, I haven’t read them all but damn near. That was, until, Time & Vine, which seems like a web comic collection. I don’t know that for sure, but that’s the vibe I got.
The gist of the story is easy, to sum up, but it’s not very sexy to present it so quickly. I would just read the issue if I were you. For those of you that need more info, there’s a winery that has a time traveling cellular that when you crack open a particular year, you are transported to that year for a little while. It seems the only limitations are that it must be a year the winery was open and you’re limited to visiting the winery/bar area for a short period of time.
The story is a bit cheesy. A teacher and her teacher friends have taken a weekend trip to go drinking and help her take her mind off her mother having Alzheimer’s. The owner of the place takes her time traveling because he’s looking for someone new to travel with. We learn more and more about his past and his tragic marriage. With our female lead, we see her bond and connect with her mother through her travels, which was an interesting take on time traveling.
There’s a lot of little cheesy moments here, which was good. It made it different enough from other time travel stories that I liked it. It also makes it appropriate for all ages in that there are no adult themes going on. It’s sweet; it’s simple, it doesn’t make a lot of sense when you analyze the character motivation, but hey… it’s a comic book in which anything can happen.
The writing, outside of the cheese is still pretty good. It’s a long issue, but the pacing never misses a beat. Instead, it plots a steady course, while also developing a sense of mystery around our male lead. Thomas F. Zahler has managed to take a very simple concept and added a twist that not only makes it interesting but refreshing to a genre that has become over played in recent years.
The artwork is consistent and well-put-together. It’s not a style that I gravitate to, but it fit the story and didn’t distract me while reading. There is some improvement in Zahler’s work since last I saw it, so that was a plus. There’s a lot of details to the linework, and the backgrounds are rich and full. The world looks lived in and full of life.
If you’re just into superhero books or the hot genre of the year, then you might look right past Time & Vine. Which is unfortunate because it’s the best IDW title I’ve read in a long time, but also the best time traveling story I’ve read in a long time. At least so far. Take a chance and give it a read, you might just find something new to enjoy from a creator that continues to get sharper and sharper each series.
Time & Vine #1
Creator: Thomas F. Zahler
Publisher: IDW Publishing