Dark Horse Comics 2015
Written by Matt Kindt
Illustrated by Scott Kolins
Coloured by Bill Crabtree
When the stranded deep-time explorers Art, Phil, Ursula, Herb, and Margaret go toe to toe with a tentacled beast from outside the timestream, they discover too late that the creature is actually a rescue vessel tasked with returning the lost team to their origin point in history. In the confusion, the synthetically enhanced Phil uses the pretense of mistakenly disabling the rescue vessel to hide a shocking secret from the other Past Aways—the vessel’s pilot, Hein, who suffers from a violently disorienting form of time sickness. Now, Phil has offered to relieve Hein of his ailment, but not unless Hein assists him with the assassination of their team leader, Art. But how can Art die if the laws of space-time forbid it?
This issue is a nice look at the characters and mending the relationships they have after being stuck in the past for a full year and finally coming back together. Not only does Matt weave some great characterization into the story but he also subtly gives us a look at what’s going to happen soon enough as well as overtly giving us a new adversary for them.
I have to say I really enjoyed the little action we got here in the form of the tortoise having awoken in the trophy room. You have to admire Scott’s talent and imagination in taking something like a tortoise and make monstrous and menacing while also demonstrating why Maggie is with them. While it also demonstrates how Matt has been able to get them back into working like a team it really is one of those moments when you think what have they been doing, where have they been that this killer tortoise was found to begin with.
Also after their encounter with the tortoise and where they go as a result I’d love to see that explored more. The idea that the Mayans and other ancient cultures could have inadvertently opened up or found portals to other times and/or dimensions is something that could explain “lost” civilizations. Plus it could also prove to be access points for other people or things traveling to our current time which could be a prime reason the team was sent here in the first place. Regardless that it opens the reader’s mind to other possibilities is something Matt does extraordinarily well.
As the question about their headquarters security is raised it’s nice to see this guy with the ability to shunt himself back in time a few seconds to figure out the best course of action after seeing how other react to him getting inside against the odds continues to raise more questions. Who is this person and why are they here now? Are they here to help or destroy or is he just another traveler stuck in this time period looking for a way home as well? Though let’s face it his actions, okay yes i’m assuming it’s a man though though it could be a woman, don’t seem to indicate he’s benevolent quite the opposite actually so I’d like to think he’s here to do damage to the team for some purpose that will be revealed over time.
This book keeps getting more involved and intense with each issue and that’s exactly how it should be. This crescendo style of storytelling is the kind we look for and wonder when it will peak then sink only to rise again and it’s the journey we take along with it that keeps us coming back time and again.