- Writers: Declan Shalvey and Rory McConville
- Artist: Joe Palmer
- Colorist: Chris O’Halloran
- Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
- Editor: Heather Antos
- Designer: Sasha E. Head
Thanks to Image Comics for the review copy!
TIME BEFORE TIME puts a new spin on the time travel genre. Tatsuo and his friend Oscar are time couriers from the year 2140 who shuttle people and goods forwards and backwards in time via some pod-like time machines. The set up reminded me of the classic Isaac Asimov story, The End of Eternity. Unlike most time traveler stories, Oscar and Tatsuo don’t want to be doing it. Instead, they seem to be working off some kind of debt, and the catch is, the time trips have negative health effects for them.
In the first issue, TIME BEFORE TIME avoids the type of time travel questions that most stories dwell on. No one asks what happens when you drop off someone from the future in 1987. There doesn’t seem to be any problem grabbing technology from the future either (see if you catch the BACK TO THE FUTURE reference). Instead, this book focuses on the impact time travel has on the individuals who drop the people off. This takes a subject that is usually full of grand theories and brings it down to the individual level, which is a neat approach. After spending most of the story establishing Tatsuo as a character, the issue takes an exciting turn near the end of the issue that really sets up the story moving forward.
The art does a great job of subtly changing to fit the era it is showing. Overall, the muted color scheme adds a sense of grittiness to the story. This isn’t a neon or shiny future (as evidenced by the continual breaking of the time machines). The character designs are fairly minimal, but manage to convey enough to make them easily distinguishable.
It will be interesting to see if TIME BEFORE TIME takes on the bigger consequences of time travel questions that are a hallmark of the genre. As is, I’m eager to see where the story goes next.
TIME BEFORE TIME #1 is in comic shops today (May 12th, 2021).
Check back in a few weeks for my thoughts on the 2nd issue of the series.
Are you going to pick up this issue? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below!