writer: Mark Millar / artist: Sean Gordon Murphy / Image Comics
Remember The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror V? Let me refresh your memory – Homer travels back in time via a time machine toaster, and every decision he makes, no matter how small, changes the future. Now let’s put on our chaos theory hats: a butterfly flaps its wings in New Mexico and the ripple of that simple action can cause a hurricane in China, so even a dolt like Homer can accidentally kill off the dinosaurs with a sneeze. Time travel is serious business. But what would happen if it weren’t an accidental dimwit like Homer interacting with the past, but two intentional and ambitious minds? Introduce Doctor Corbin Quinn and Dudebro Danny Reilly and we have a vague semblance of Mark Millar’s new Chrononauts.
The series begins with Corbin in southeast Turkey where a local guide shows him an amazing sight within the ancient ruins: an F-14 Tomcat. Now how’d a fighter jet get to be inside a structure that pre-dates Stonehenge? The tour guide is baffled.
“You have to remember, this pre-dates modern tools, Doctor Quinn. This was before man even had pottery.”
And thus begins the 8th season of Ancient Aliens on the History channel. But for Quinn and Reilly, it validates their hope that time travel will happen – rather, has happened – and they’re on the right track. Eighteen months later they’re in front of the lights and cameras to share their breakthrough with the world. They’re humbled to go on their first mission.
Okay, humbled is not the word. Why would you ever say something like that? Fortune favors the bold, though, the gods frown on such hubris. But okay, a little confidence is fine, just don’t…
Dammit Reilly, you are trying to die. The space-time continuum was manipulated to keep the movie Scream from ever being made and you broke every single rule in the horror movie guidebook.
The two gear up in their Chrono-suits and you just wait for the inevitable “Houston, we have a problem” moment, not because you’re worried what will happen, but because you want to see how they react to it. You see, bromance wins over all. At first take, Quinn is the most likable, especially after he calls his ex before the mission to have an emotional conversation about their past; Reilly is the privileged frat boy you wish you’d punched in the face back in college. So when it hits the fan, our hero Quinn is in trouble and Reilly has his opportunity to step up for audience redemption.
And that’s exactly what he does. Well played, Mark Millar. Well played.
Oh, and did I mention everything is televised? Not only are they traveling through time, it’s also being seen on every TV in our current time dimension, transforming both the space-time continuum and our standards of reality TV. Reilly drops hero bars in his freestyle so everybody listening can lose their composure.
Chrononauts #1 is the first issue of what will undoubtedly be a fun series. Time travel is a difficult subject to grapple with, yet when done thoughtfully it can make for a heavy, fun read, which is exactly what I look forward to. Not to mention some comedy – I mean, how many issues until Danny sleeps with someone in the past? What’s the over/under there?
Read this series and come along for the ride before it turns into a motion picture (Universal has optioned the series already). Sean Gordon Murphy’s artwork is fantastic, specifically the time travel panels, and the nature of the story will have to show a range of artistic ability as Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly travel through history. Come for the time travel, and stay for the character development and bromance. I’ll know the series is fully awesome when I can say Dr. Quinn without thinking of Jane Seymour.