Chrononauts #3:

Early Review!

Chrononauts continues to be exuberant, good-hearted fun, and as we head into the last act of this four-issue arc, Quinn and Reilly are starting to encounter consequences to their extremely irresponsible (though fun) actions. Mark Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy pile reference upon reference and joke upon joke, all in the context of a high-energy action-oriented comic. Any fan of the first two issues will step over into superfandom based on what’s presented here.

In terms of the artwork, Murphy continues to emphasize angles and perspective in a very effective way. Any one of his panels could be a lesson in triangular composition, with triangles within triangles. It’s brilliant technical stuff and effectively contributes to the energy of each frame: a perfect way to complement the action dictated by the story.

Not only is it funny, it’s great classic composition, and Murphy’s art is full of nice touches like that.

The central chase sequence in the middle of this issue, spanning centuries and millennia, all in a red sports car featuring one of our heroes in a fuzzy pink bathrobe, is as close as one can imagine to crystallizing what Chrononauts is all about as a comic. Everything about the sequence, with jokes and bullets flying interchangeably, is perfect fodder for a modern smart, self-aware action movie (which this comic will no doubt spawn).

But the book finds some time to casually address the hideous damage the delinquent doctors Reilly and Quinn have been doing to the universe with their willful disregard for the timeline. So far, we learn, they’ve stolen kingdoms, taken gold, given themselves credit for things (this continues here: apparently Reilly created Breaking Bad!) and basically bent history to shape their adolescent will. In the opening sequence of this issue, for example, Reilly is about to go on stage with The Smiths and threatening to kick Morrissey out of the band. The question is rather begged: how much more can these guys get away with?

I can’t resist pointing out that there are a few triangles in this panel as well, some upside down.

Luckily, there are two forces allied against them: the folks back at case command, who have just sent a team in to catch the boys, and the sheer weight of the consequences they’ve stirred. Without spoiling anything, we can safely say that one of the main points being made in this comic is that just because people are from the ancient past doesn’t mean they aren’t people, with intelligence and resourcefulness and ambition and everything we take for granted in a modern individual. Reilly and Quinn have made many mistakes, but underestimating the people in the past is probably the one that will get them in the end.

It’s difficult to pull any further “big message” from this comic other than a desire to entertain, which it does most capably. It’s the kind of book where you just go along for the ride, and it’s quite a ride.

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Independent scholar Ian Dawe has been writing for Sequart since November 2013. Before that, he had a mixed background, initially in science (Molecular Biology and Biochemistry), where he earned an MSc from Simon Fraser University and then an MA in Film from the University of Exeter in the UK. He spent a decade teaching at the college level, delivering courses in Genetics, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Biological Anthropology and Film History. His academic work includes peer-reviewed papers on the work of Alan Moore, Harvey Pekar for Studies in Comics and a dissertation on Terry Gilliam for the University of Exeter. He has presented papers at several major academic conferences including Slayage 2014, Magus: Transdisciplinary Approaches to the Work of Alan Moore in 2010 (in the wizard's hometown of Northampton), Comics Rock and the International Conference of the Humanities in 2012, and at the Southwest Popular Culture Association Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2014 and 2015. He has contributed to several books, including a chapter about the TV show Archer in "James Bond and Popular Culture" and two chapters on Breaking Bad for "Breaking Bad and Masculinity", both now available from McFarland. At Sequart, he has authored a chapter for New Life and New Civiliations: Exploring Star Trek Comics, A Long Time Ago and two more upcoming books on Star Wars comics. He has also contributed to books on Alan Moore and 1970s Horror Comics. He is currently planning a full-length book on Better Call Saul. Ian currently lives in Vancouver, BC.

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Also by Ian Dawe:

The Cyberpunk Nexus: Exploring the Blade Runner Universe


A More Civilized Age: Exploring the Star Wars Expanded Universe


A Galaxy Far, Far Away: Exploring Star Wars Comics


A Long Time Ago: Exploring the Star Wars Cinematic Universe


New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics


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