(Image Comics, 2015)
Written by Mark Millar
Artwork by Sean Murphy
What would you do if you could travel through time? Most people’s answers are more personal or selfish in nature, playing winning lottery numbers, things like that. Millar and Murphy craft this book around time travel, but the motives of the main characters are not self-centered; they are strictly providing a glimpse into history for everyone. What lies inside of this book is an interesting story centered around humans’ curiosity with time travel, history, the endless pursuit of technological advances, and the ramifications of soaring too close to the sun.
Chrononauts opens with Corbin Quinn examining an archeological site predating metal tools but which mysteriously contains a rather large object from modern times. The reader soon learns from Quinn’s partner, Danny Reilly, that this isn’t the first time such a mystery has occurred. In fact, Reilly sees these sites as a sign they are on a right track towards man’s first foray into the world of time travel. First sending a satellite back in time to live broadcast a major moment in American history, the team’s success all but calls for human trials. Quinn is first to step through the Stargate-like time ring. Flying through an open space, surrounded by energy beams he is struck by a rogue wave and sent off course. Seeing Quinn in danger and alone, Reilly steps up to go rescue his cohort, knowing he has to go in unarmed and unprepared for what he may face.
This on-going series wastes no time jumping straight into the action and mystery of this world. From the opening reveal of the object misplaced in time to the inevitable errors, this book had me hooked. Quinn seems like a man who may be stuck in his head to a point where it’s detrimental to him in the long run. Reilly on the other hand, is a boasting, impulsive, egocentric scientist, but it doesn’t really turn the reader against his character, it’s almost endearing. I applaud the focus Millar and Murphy put into creating an interesting narrative quickly, forgoing the long, drawn out back-story first-issue trap. The small touch of back-story for Quinn comes by way of a quick glimpse at a pocket watch given to him by his deceased father and a phone call with his ex-wife Rachel who left him for spending too much time with his work. The creators should keep this dynamic going, a bit of back-story as the series progresses, staying away from the dreaded bogged down overload issue.
The artwork is typical Sean Murphy fare and I absolutely love it! Fans of Murphy will not be let down, artwork here conjures up similarities with his Scott Snyder project The Wake. The details in the drawings mesh with the intentional voids that the mind fills in to create beautiful scenes. The artwork tells as much of the story as Millar’s writing, pairing up to make a complete, enjoyable experience. For this series Millar’s writing is to the point, not a wasted word to be found and letting the artwork take lead in storytelling at times in beautiful fashion. I have no concerns for this title with this team, only high expectations for the character development and story moving forward. Judging by the pedigree these two bring to this book I don’t foresee anyone being let down when it comes to this time-hopping story.
I came into this only knowing a bare minimum about this book but finished with the need for more, an instant addition to my comic store pull list. Chrononauts is a gripping, action packed ride that I’ve already read multiple times. Do yourself a favor and grab this book a.s.a.p. I’m looking forward to seeing what parts of history are presented and how much of it our two main characters alter. Quinn and Reilly want to share history with the world through time travel, me on the other hand; I would go back and see Billy Joel in his prime…and maybe play last nights’ lottery numbers.