Review: Chrononauts #1
June 15th, 2015 | by Nicholas Bennett
Written by Mark Millar, Chrononauts is his latest attempt to take a well-trod story and tell it in a more mature and realistic style. If Mark Millar’s comics has shown us anything, it’s that he has an uncanny way of making new music out of old standards. Most of Millar’s stories begin with the premise of “What If?”, and Chrononauts is no exception.
In Kick-Ass, it was what if an average teenager decided to become a heroic vigilante? In Wanted, it was what would the world look like if all the heroes had died? The “What If?” in Chrononauts is built into the time travel theme of story. We are immediately thrust into a tale of temporal shifts and intrigue. In that respect, Chrononauts deviates from Millar’s dark style to tell a more standard adventure.
One of the main tenets of Millar is that he creates unapologetic characters. Angst and self-doubt are not emotions he generally deals in. Time traveling super genius Corbin Quinn is the exception to this rule. He is altruistic like Dave Lizewski from Kick-Ass, minus the insecurity. He is also more Tony Stark than Doc Brown. Like Tony, all of his actions take place under public scrutiny. Quinn also faces the regrets of a failed marriage. This quest to travel through time feels as much an escape as a scientific journey. Not one for melodrama, however, we are provided with some comedy relief. And what’s a buddy comedy without a sidekick? Danny Reilly fills that role as the impulsive buccaneer to Quinn’s calculated precision. His devil may care attitude is what we come to expect from Millar stories. He acts as the light-hearted Goose to Corbin’s hyper-serious Maverick.
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Most earth shattering events in comics happen without the public being aware of their existence. We wonder how would the world react if they knew that “insert cataclysmic event” was going on. This is why Chrononauts makes for a fresh take on the time travel motif. Via a camera crew, we get to see our protagonists every move live and in living color. More interestingly, the average citizen gets to see them as well. Their reactions to Danny and Corbin’s hijinks will likely be something to enjoy in future issues.
In one scene a newscaster compares the significance of the Chrononauts travels to the moon landing. As we know, that televised event was one of the most highly-rated broadcasts in history. This comparison is a welcome one. It lends some reality to the situation. Even in our short attention span society it is difficult to imagine how the world wouldn’t be completely enraptured by Danny and Corbin’s adventures.
You realize this is all being recorded and broadcast around the world, right?
Essayist Michael Arlen once referred to Vietnam as “the living-room war.” The same newscaster, seeing a Civil War battle come to life says, “History is unfolding right before our eyes, clear color footage of America’s ancestors preparing for battle like they’re all still alive.” Hopefully, Millar’s Chrononauts will be able to capture some of the raw emotion of what American’s first experienced during that time. Furthermore, we’ll be given the opportunity to see how heroes react when every one of their actions is available for the world to see. While these may be lofty goals for a comic book, Mark Millar is one of the few writers in the industry who would even attempt such a task.
Give this series a try soon. Given Millar’s track record it is only a matter of time before we see Chrononauts on the big screen.
Nicholas Bennett is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TheTVBuddy