Dr. Corbin Quinn has done it. He has cracked the mysteries of traversing the Time-Stream. He, with the help of best friend and equally brilliant scientist Danny Reilly, plan to record history as it unfolds. Sounds like some dry science fiction, huh? It's really not. They call it a "Time-Stream" but really it's more of a "Time Water-slide" at the wackiest amusement park imaginable. Chrononauts is science fantasy to its very core. There's not a chronoton particle in sight, and not a single capacitor was fluxed.
Co-creators Mark Millar and Sean Murphy have crafted quite the entertaining tale. Filled with bombast, the best of friendship, and turbo-charged fist bumps that will have feeling the need... the need for speed. Because Time Bros [strikeout] Chrononauts is a flexing in the sun, playing with the boys, bromance of truly Top Gun-like proportion.
Dr. Quinn is the first to take the trip into the past and things immediately go awry, as they often do when dealing with time travel. Refusing to let peril befall his hetero life-mate Dr. Reilly time trips to the rescue. It's here where the story diverges from the usual time travel formula. Instead of going to great lengths to preserve the time line this brash and cavalier duo bend time to their will. They're rich, powerful, date the most beautiful women, and generally live like kings... They do these things multiple times across the ages. Why live one life of leisure when you can simultaneously live many, era hopping to suit your mood?
In addition to the high octane action and breakneck pacing of the story; Millar wrote in an awful lot of tongue and cheek humor. Humor expertly brought to life by Murphy. Humor like the derpy eyed buck toothed drooling dinosaur that looks directly at the reader after stomping a man into a red puddle. Or seeing the main characters deliver gold to the new born baby Jesus... gold in the form of a crucifix. The body language and facial expressions as they acknowledge what they're doing really works to sell the joke.
Murphy's expertise extends well beyond selling jokes. It's a magical thing when art style and story come together so perfectly. The speed of Millar's story is matched with some amazing frantic art. Each panel gives the impression that Murphy and his pencil were under duress. That's not to say it is, or even looks, sloppy. Instead, Murphy gives the impression that everything is in motion with a sweeping cinematic sense. While we're on the subject of the artwork of Chononauts; special note must be made of colorist Matt Hollingsworth. The overall depth of color is amazing, you know, if you're so inclined as to stop and admire such a thing. Each era of time has a certain look and color palette that gives it a certain feeling, a certain character. Hollingsworth might be some kind of high powered super genius.
Overall Chrononauts is a fantastically fun and fast read. Almost regrettably fast. My two times through the trade paperback clocked in at just a little over two hours. I wont proclaim to be an expert in the craft of comics or the critical analysis thereof; and I have read some of the negatives espoused by others regarding the commercial nature of the book and its resemblance to a storyboard who's only purpose being to sell some movie rights. But in my humble opinion Chrononauts is worth the ten or so dollar price tag. Or you could/should borrow it from a friend like I did.
Check out Chrononauts on the Image website
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