(Mark Millar/ Sean Murphy/ Matt Hollingsworth/ Chris Eliopoulos; Image Comics)
Michael Bettendorf: Friends, fellow comic book fans, excuse me while I put my metaphorical-mouth-gloves on, because I have a lot to say.
What is this? A comic disguised as a movie pitch? Ok, that’s what I thought. Turns out Millar has already solidified something with Universal and this book has been out for less than a week and it shows. Chrononauts is one of the blandest comics I’ve read in a while. Millar’s script is just boring. His characters are unlikable, save for the clearly-too-good-for-him side character, Rachel. I mean that. I like her. She shows more depth in the few panels she’s in than the shallow, into himself Quinn. She’s expressive, has motive and is more relatable than our good brosef, Dr. Quinn. I probably won’t continue this comic, but if I were, Rachel’s presence would be mandatory.
I don’t want to suck all the air out of this fight before I tag some of you Bulletineers in, but geez. Quinn had the nerve to “apologize” because he sacrificed so much, then blames Rachel for leaving him because he’s the overachiever who realized too late what he had given up…really?
Between that and the completely predicable problems that they had during the time travel, this script is blander than yogurt. Not vanilla. Plain yogurt. The only thing holding it together is Murphy’s art and Hollingsworth’s colors. The penciling is awesome. Very expressive and has a lot of life. The coloring adds nice texture and atmosphere, sorta nostalgic in a way.
Anywho, I’m tagging out…
Mark Stack: And I’m tagging in!
The art on this book is untouchable. It’s a Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth joint. You know that coming in. That’s the one credit I can give to Mark Millar; he knows how to pick his collaborators and he even treats them well. There’s no way that Sean Murphy wasn’t paid an amazing page rate for this and will continue to rake in money off of this movie deal. This mercenary work is going to allow Sean Murphy the freedom to make his next major creator-owned book and that’s admirable.
And isn’t it telling that the only good thing I have to say about this book is that it’s a positive stepping stone for one of the creators?
This book doesn’t read well as a first issue. As the first ten minutes of a movie? Sure. But comics aren’t movies no matter how much Mark Millar wishes they were. Everything in this issue is nothing but a prelude to the action which is perfectly acceptable if the writer is working to get readers invested in the characters. Except, as Michael said, these characters never extend beyond being loose caricatures of human beings. I read this book yesterday and I don’t even remember the name of Quinn’s douchebag best friend. The only thing I remember are his party-boy antics but that does not a personality make.
Maybe the next issue will be fun but, as it stands, this one is nothing but uninteresting build-up that spends its time hitting beats that even Michael Bay would find derivative.
Jason Sacks: The thing about Chrononauts is that it’s just all so annoying rather than so grand. The lead characters are dicks who smile too much. The pseudo-mystery delivered in the first two pages has an obvious time-twist response that borders on the cliche. The newsmedia reports our heroes’ actions blandly, there’s some government conspiracy and some rock star posing and a spurned former lover and a gold pocket-watch meant to show that one of our leads is deeper than he seems. Maybe all these bland pieces will turn into something greater than the sum of its parts — oh, sorry, I forgot for a moment that this comic was written by Mark Millar.