Is Time Travel Gimmick Enough in Faith and the Future Force 1?

by Ryan Desaulniers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Time travel is theoretically impossible, but I wouldn’t want to give it up as a plot gimmick.

Isaac Asimov

Faith Herbert returns after a very brief hiatus from her solo series for Faith and the Future Force, wherein time’s been tampered with and Faith sets out to fix it under the guidance of Timewalker Neela Sethi. It’s a simple premise, sure, but simple premises can be great; however, I am finding the nature of this story being based around time-travel to be a bit underwhelming. Nowadays, I feel like a decent time-travel yarn needs a significant gimmick, as the trope’s been so heavily used. Recent titles like ChrononautsGreen Valley, and TMNT: Beebop and Rocksteady Destroy Everything show that time-travel can still be done well, but an extra layer of contrivance really helps to help the works stand out. Continue reading

Green Valley 9: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner & Michael DeLaney

Green Valley 9

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, read on at your own risk!

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Drew: The first time travel story I remember experiencing is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. Its time-travel mechanic was as logical as it needed to be to satisfy six-year-old me, but it left me with some weird assumptions about how time worked. Specifically, the way the movie intercuts between its present-day and feudal Japan scenes convinced me that the past is playing out in parallel with the present. That is, even though time travel is possible, if I travel to the past, wait five minutes, then return to the present, I can only arrive five minutes after I left. It makes no logical sense, but continues to be a popular feature of time travel stories in order to allow them to follow separate storylines in separate time periods simultaneously. Indeed, it’s a technique employed judiciously in Green Valley 9, as Max Landis and Giuseppe Camuncoli delight in touching upon just about every time travel trope as they draw the series to a close. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Bebop and Rocksteady Destroy Everything 1

bebop rocksteady destroy 1

Today, Ryan D and Taylor are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Bebop and Rocksteady Destroy Everything 1, originally released June 1st, 2016.

Ryan D: The premise is simple: what happens when two borderline sociopathic idiots get their hands upon a time travel device? Think Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure but with two mutated, monstrous gang members. But there’s actually quite a bit going on under the hood of this comic, exploring two beloved characters and making the reader ask some questions while still being a fun punch-up.

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Chrononauts 2

Alternating Currents, Chrononauts 2, Drew and Ryan

Today, Drew and Ryan are discussing Chrononauts 2, originally released April 15th, 2015.

Homer: Sorry but this is a highly sophistimacated doo-whackey. If you don’t use it responsibly… Kablammo!
Lisa: Ow! Someone just punched me in the face!
Homer: It was your mother!

The Simpsons, “Treehouse of Horror VIII”

Drew: I’m endlessly amused by the notion of using sci-fi technology for mundane personal uses. Homer using his teleporter to grab a beer without getting up, or to avoid having to climb the stairs feels like an abuse of the technology, but it’s also a compelling estimation of how it would be used in the hands of an everyday person. As much as we might claim to want to use a time-machine to avert a world war or warn people of impending disaster, we’re probably more likely to use it to ace a history presentation, meddle with the affairs of our family, or just bring the younger versions of our friend group to the present in hopes of winning an argument. Doctors Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly find even less noble uses for their chronosuits in Mark Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy’s Chrononauts 2, and it proves to be an absolute blast. Continue reading

Chrononauts 1

Alternating Currents: Chrononauts 1, Ryan and Drew

Today, Ryan and Drew are discussing Chrononauts 1, originally released March 18th, 2015.

Ryan: On September 13th, 1959, the Soviet Union made history by landing the first man-made object — the Luna 2 — on the moon.  The Soviet success allowed their premiere, Nikita Khruschev, a scientific triumph to laud over President Eisenhower demonstrating the virtues of Communism. After a decade of dominating the Space Race, the USSR lost the ultimate prize to the USA and its space program, which had been kicked into high gear under the watch of President John F. Kennedy, when the first feet to touch the surface of the moon belonged to American astronauts on July 20, 1969. Despite the years of rivalry and the mires of the Cold War, when Apollo 11 touched down, the Russians cheered. As Soviet astronaut Alexei Leonov wrote, “Everyone forgot that we were all citizens of different countries on Earth. That moment really united the human race.” Mark Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy’s new title, Chrononauts, seeks to recapture the magic of families across the world crowding around their televisions and radios as science catches up to imagination. Continue reading

Indestructible Hulk 15

hulk 15

Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing Indestructible Hulk 15, originally released November 20th, 2013.

Shelby: Games have rules for a reason. Everyone has to know how to play (and how to win), and rules lay that out. A game without rules is chaos, which for a game like Calvinball is precisely the point. The only rule of Calvinball is you can’t play the game the same way twice: essentially, the only rule is whatever rules are made are to be broken. When there are no rules, you can do whatever you want. Worried about consequences? Why bother, there’s no rule that says there will be any! While it might be kind of freeing to play a game with no rules, when you’re dealing with time, history, and your very existence, rules are pretty damn important. So when Bruce Banner finds himself facing his own past, an irradiated Hulk, a potentially Hulk-less future, and a timestream so broken it can be shaped like clay, he knows he needs to act fast before it’s too late, if it isn’t already.
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X-Men: Battle of the Atom 2

battle of the atom 2 ATOM

Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing X-Men: Battle of the Atom 2, originally released October 30th, 2013. This issue is part of the Battle of the Atom event. Click here for our complete coverage of Battle of the Atom.

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‘But,’ said Sam, and tears started in his eyes, “I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and years, after all you have done.’

‘So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.’

-Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King

Patrick: There’s a timbre to endings — a quiet cadence that mixes melancholy with hope. It’s an absurdly powerful tool in the writer’s box of tricks, and when it works, its hits the reader’s heart like a sock full of pennies. It’s the payout on the contract struck between the author and the audience, and it’s important for those moments to land. Battle of the Atom 2 executes so many muted goodbyes that it necessitates four epilogues, and aching sincerity occupying about half the issue. None of these moments reach the poetic heights of our buddy Tolkien up there, but the issue does manage its own form of bitter-sweet closure. It’s just the kind of closure that promises that we’re going to keep right on trucking on to the next adventure… and inevitably, to the next reality-warping event. Continue reading

Indestructible Hulk Special 1

hulk special 1Today, Greg and Taylor are discussing Indestructible Hulk Special 1, originally released October 16th, 2013. This issue is part of the three-part Arms of the Octopus story.

Greg: A friend of mine asked me the other night, “If a guy teleported in front of you, told you he was a time traveler, and asked what year it was, how would you respond?” We’re both comedy folks, so I imagine he was looking to start riffing. Yet rather than fire off any number of instinctual punchlines (“What year is it? Why, it’s Christmas Year, sir!” is one of the many perfect ideas I had), I decided to pause, think, and mull over what I, Greg Smith, human being, would actually do if that actually happened.

“I would probably try to ask him who he was, stammer out panicked words, and then fall over.” And that truth, over any dumb joke I could’ve invented, made him laugh.
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X-Men 6

x-men 6 atom

Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing X-Men 6, originally released October 9th, 2013. This issue is part of the Battle of the Atom event. Click here for our complete coverage of Battle of the Atom.

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Taylor: You guys, we’re all getting older. Most of the time, it’s pretty easy for me to pretend that I’m not and that instead I’m ageless, but occasionally something happens that reminds me I will eventually bow to the forces of Father Time. Like many my age (29), my facebook feed is quickly becoming filled with pictures of weddings — followed a year later by pictures of babies. Just to be clear: this means that people my age are having children. They are completely responsible for the life of another human being. That seems terrifying to me, mostly because I can’t imagine taking on such a huge responsibility in my life. But then I realize that I’m almost 30, a perfectly normal age to have kids, and that despite my best efforts I haven’t escaped our temporal universe. Then I wonder if a time will ever come when I feel ready to have kids. I have to wonder because — to my eyes — having kids seems like a lot more trouble than it’s worth, even though everyone says having them is totally rewarding. Does it make sense that X-Men 6, part of the Battle of the Atom event, could change my opinion?

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Rocket Girl 1

rocket girl 1

Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Rocket Girl 1, originally released October 9th, 2013.

Patrick: The first weekend I ever owned an iPhone, my friends I tried to see James Bond: Quantum of Solace at a movie theatre in downtown Chicago. We had driven, which was atypical for us at the time – we were very train-reliant when we lived in Chicago. But on this particular evening we had a car. Much to our dismay, the movie was sold out. That’s when I, armed with my shiny new phone , found another theatre that was playing the flick, bought us tickets and got directions to this new theatre. The night’s revised plans were a rousing success, due in no small part to wicked piece of sorcery in my pocket. I boldly declared then that we were Living In The Future. Of course, this was over five years ago now, and the ability to access that kind of future tech is commonplace — and much of the software and hardware I was using on that night would seems repulsively slow and awkward to me now. But I love this idea that the present is just  our past’s future. Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder leverage this idea to present us with an insane alternate future… set in 2013. Continue reading