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.
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?
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.