Chrononauts is the new comic from Mark Millar and the synopsis from publisher Image Comics is as follows…
Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly are two buddies who love to have fun. They’re also scientific geniuses. When their research leads them to a time-traveling adventure, will they use their knowledge for the good of all mankind? Or use the space-time continuum for their own ends? This is the story of man’s first, televised steps through the time-stream and everything going wrong in the process.
Any initial resemblance to Ray Bradbury’s A Sound Of Thunder is probably intended as that story is one of the wellsprings of any SF story featuring time travel, but Millar’s hardly a source of original ideas. Millar’s great talent is throwing together entertaining stories in this case with artist Sean Gordon Murphy (beautifully coloured by Matt Hollingsworth) but the main problem is that sometimes these stories just aren’t very good. Part of that is because Millar tends to write everything with an eye on a film and that means he’s not really doing anything interesting in the medium of comics. Sadly this is a problem far too common in mainstream comics, but at least Millar does occasionally turn out good stories.
This clearly has film potential slapped all over it but it does help that this is concentrating on the story first however there’s a sense of playfulness in this that’s often missing from Millar’s work. This basically is a couple of American dudes discovering time travel so they can go and have adventures.
Of course anyone reading this can see what’s coming and to Millar’s credit he telegraphs it early on in the issue.
And of course things go wrong on the first manned event of time travel.
What I do like is that Millar doesn’t waste time setting the story up. He’s cracking the plot on at a pace not often seen in most mainstream comics because he realises that the audience he’s pitching to are going to get bored quickly so it’s no fannying around here.
Chrononauts problem is that it’s an idea that wouldn’t be out of place in 2000AD (and in fact feels like a rejected idea) but although it’s an entertaining read its slight. in terms of weight. Characters are flimsy and painted in such broad brush strokes that it makes characterisation in a Jason Statham film look like a Werner Herzog film. This really is something for people wanting a mindless bit of fun or for people not exactly setting their aspirations high in terms of content. This isn’t to say it’s a badly done comic; it’s certainly not but Millar’s problem is that in his constant attempts to create comics that are essentially pitches to Hollywood, he’s lost a bit of what makes comics more than just a glorified film script. That said, I’ll pick up the next issue…