I don't think we're ever going to get tired of time travel stories. The existential rabbit hole yawns like eternity, the possibilities and probabilities and paradoxes, time travel stirs, awakes and nurtures in our brains, minds and thoughts. This is just the way it is and if you can't enjoy an hour of crinkling your forehead debating whether or not you would rescue Jesus or kill Hitler, what are you doing with your time? Bringing us to one Image's #1s debuting this week, Comeback, by Ed Brisson and Michael Walsh (colors by Bellaire, I should mention because anywhere you're seeing that name these days you're seeing brilliant coloring work).
?*?* Comeback is about a company that can go into the recent past and try to rescue a recently lost loved one, but only if you can afford their astronomical price tag. Right away the set up has me, not that I have a problem with "the time police" type stories, it's just I'd like to see what other directions we can approach time travel from. That's part of the reason Looper was so well received. Probably. I haven't seen it yet, and I hesitate to praise it sight unseen, because what if I see it and I hate it and then I have to spend the rest of my life pretending to love it? But I can at least admit that Looper has a novel approach. Oh god though, what if I watch it and it doesn't??
Random Praise: The cigarette smokers in Comeback actually look like cigarette smokers. As a former smoker I hate when smokers are portrayed in fiction as cool and attractive, even though smoking cigarettes is cool and can make you more attractive. Come to think of it, that might be one of the reasons I've enjoyed The Umbrella Academy that I shamefully am only finally getting around to now.
Comeback is smart storytelling. I read a lot of comics and while I constantly (and obnoxiously) sing the praises of indie comics, one small press pothole I do encounter is the curse of "trying way too hard". It's when you actually have a bad ass idea for a comic, and the comic involves dudes who are actual bad asses, but then you end up making everyone sound like a made for TV crime movie from the 90s. Something that the USA Network would air at 3am on a Friday. And while that might make for good 3am Friday viewing, it's probably not something you're going to want to experience ever again. Or even tell people you watched. Or even remember it because you were drunk. I should've specified that up front, in this scenario you're drunk. So Comeback doesn't try too hard, it doesn't make it's main pair of agents into cliche ridden, stilted dialog, cookie cutter bad asses, they're believable characters. This is so important in story telling because a far fetched notion or wild idea is much easier to believe when the characters within the context are recognizable from our own, less than wild lives. It's easy to believe in an Arthur Dent because he's not Buckaroo Bonzai. Not that Buckaroo Bonzai is trying too hard! I'm losing you, I can tell. Let me get back on point, the characters in Comeback are great and could just as easily come from our world as they do from a world where time travel is real and being used to help the ultra rich.
I feel like that should be focused on more. Especially as the gap between rich and poor widens around the world and everywhere people are finally getting disgusted at the people on top and how they've gleefully defecated on everything good, pure and magical while sowing a culture of hate and-...To quote the late Bill Hicks, "Sorry, wrong meeting." That however is just one of the many questions that Comeback successfully arouses in the reader, "What does money do to a person? Do to reality? How much control do we have over our lives versus the one percent?".
The art in Comeback is fantastic, it's reminiscent of Sean Phillips but not to a point where anyone would think Walsh was merely imitating. The faces are captured so well, whether it's furious anger, hopeless terror, somber sadness or exasperation, the whole range of human reactions are captured within Comeback's smart, original pages.
Of course with limited series like this, where we're taking a look at a slice of a life, when the story has to do with "guys on a job" you have to expect that something on the job is going to go wrong. And it does, but not in the way you expect. Twice actually within the first issue. A great first issue, Comeback continues Image Comics' stellar 2012 bringing another thought provoking, action packed, beautiful, weird sci-fi tale to life. Comeback is out this week and if you miss it you can't travel back and time to buy it. And if you could, you'd probably go back to 1939 and buy a stack of Action Comics #1, so look, whichever way the hypothetical cookie crumbles, do yourself a favor and check out Comeback.
Took me a second read to get the end twist, but thats a good thing. But while its got its balances right it does feel like a TV pitch/pilot in the way that a lot of stuff Image publishes feels. It may just be a house style thing at Image, or everyone has read the same script theory book.
The art is really nice, fans of Phillips, but also Aja, would like this.