|Who are they, he asked. What choice did you make that they would want to destroy you? Robert, what do they want? And I replied, we don’t know|
This book collects the four issue mini-series from Image Comics. It was written by Jonathan Hickman who writes almost exclusively for Image and Marvel working on properties such as Fantastic Four, Ultimates and S.H.I.E.L.D. It features some pretty nice art from a new name to me, Nick Pitarra, who has worked with Hickman before on The Manhattan Projects for Image and S.H.I.E.L.D. for Marvel.
The story focuses on Dominic Dorne, a cadet earning to pilot a TAC (Temporal Attack Craft) II ship in the 23rd century. His society is at war with a mysterious invader, wearing helmets with blue visors, who are attacking his timeline in the past and ravaging its resources. Dominic is emulating his father, Robert, who went missing on a mission into the past and the story flips the usual trope and has the father trying to atone for the sins of the son.
I liked this book on a first read – though it has its flaws. A story of this nature has to be self contained but I thought it was maybe a little too short – which is a little surprising given that the plot reminded me a lot of the extremely short Future Shock type stories from the old days of 2000AD. But I whizzed through this book very quickly and another issue or two might have been beneficial to help explain the set up better.
I have to say that the (pseudo-) scientific explanation behind the story didn’t quite work for me. The main problem was that the threat was never adequately explained. The only glimpse that we see of the 23rd century, outside of the ring, looks very futuristic and peaceful. The story didn’t really show us the effects that the Blue invaders were having on the Reds and why there was a full blown war.
Having said that I love stories that involve time travel and the best ones always leave me with a sore head as I try and figure out what is going on. And given the impossibility of the phenomenon, it seems a bit churlish not to enjoy the story on its own merits. The tropes used might have been well worn and the surprise ending not really much of a surprise but it was an enjoyable read nonetheless. Maybe I liked it so much because it is the first sci-fi comic that I have read in a while.
I liked the art in general but the design on the ships seemed a bit lazy being just blocky shapes. The art reminded me of Bryan Talbot in places and Geof Darrow in others and I would definitely be interested in seeing more of Pitarra’s work.