Friday, February 10, 2017

Chrononauts


   It seems comic book reviews are becoming a regular staple of my blog as of late. I haven't gotten any complaints (not like I get any feedback, period...) so I'm just gonna keep em' coming as I see fit. Next up on my plate here is a breezy little ten issue story by Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Wanted) with art by Sean Gordon Murphy (Tokyo Ghost) and hot damn is it a lot of fun. It's 120 pages of no-holds-barred time travel craziness. It's clearly mined from the imagination of a guy who wanted to see an F16 fighter jet in the same panel as a T-Rex and figured "What the hell? Why not?" That is the kind of comic book that Chrononauts is.

   It's like a big Hollywood summer blockbuster, that would probably end up starring Chris Evans and Chris Pratt as two best friend science-bros who end up taking a joyride across all of time and space. It's Timecop, Top Gun, Back to the Future and Ferris Bueller's Day Out all in one. I find it funny how towards the end of every time travel story ever, the clearly out-of-their-depth protagonists suddenly remember that OH HEY, WE HAVE A TIME MACHINE! The answer to the most basic problem has been right in front of them the whole time, but by necessity we the audience had to have our irresponsible little adventure first. Chrononauts is no different.

   The protagonists intentionally dive headfirst into a big pool of recklessness, disregarding all stuffy laws and rules of time travel, and heartily throwing caution to the wind. Chrononauts manages to tie everything up in a neat bow at the end. Does it all make sense? I believe so. But, pardon me if I didn't stop to detail-check for plot holes in a story where two dudebros fend off the Mongol horde with jeeps, machine guns, sports cars, and helicopters. And this is just one of the tamer scenes when all things are said and done. The whole thing seems tailor-made for the silver screen, but it has the kind of blockbuster charm that has been largely absent from modern cinema.

   Intentionally or not, Chrononauts has an 80's movie vibe to its absurdity. I love it. Despite its ruthless buggering of the space/time continuum, Chrononauts is rather a simplistic and uncomplicated romp through the ages. It's action packed and full of humor, but at the core of the story is a strong friendship between the two leads.  The book is refreshingly straightforward and that is a real treat in a market full of comics brimming with subtext, allegory, metaphors and the like. Chrononauts is what it is, and that's it (as far as I can tell). It just aims to thrill, and there's nothing wrong with that. I wouldn't hesitate to pick up Vol.1 as a gift for a friend or someone you think should get into comics.

    It's cliche to say its got a little bit of everything, but it really does. There's a love story, sacrifice, ass-loads of heroics, sweeping epic battle scenes, tons of action, plenty of witty humor, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how great the artwork is. Murphy's visuals match Millar's literary zaniness. The book is a delight to look at as much as the story is fun to read. I'm not gonna lie and say that's a rare thing- non-superhero comics are killing it these days in the best way possible, but how can one possibly complain about a book this much fun? Chrononauts might not be an absolute genre-defining must-read, but I can't find fault with it. It's all the energy and adventure of a big Saturday matinee flick, on each and every page. Fully recommended.

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