Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Sean Gordon Murphy
Release Date: 15th April, 2015
Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly are a cocksure pair of genius scientists, who have succeeded in devising technologies that enable them to travel through time. Not only that, but they also have the ability to transport objects (machinery, weapons, vehicles, etc.) to whichever point in time they desire. Thought stranded due to a malfunction during the first manned expedition, Quinn has setup home in Samarkand circa 1504, and has begun selfishly altering history for personal gain. Thinking his friend might be in danger, Reilly enters the timestream and arrives just in time to witness the full extent of Quinn’s tinkering.
The second issue of Mark Millar’s latest, gloriously over-the-top time travel themed opus continues in the same vein as the first. It barrels along at a fair old clip, barely affording the reader a moment’s pause. Which is perhaps just as well given the central duo have about as much depth as a petri dish, at least to this point anyway. More Maverick and Goose than Einstein and Hawking, the pair tread a fine line between unlikeable douchebags and loveable rogues, and their motivations thus far are flimsy at best, but there are glimpses of deeper characters (particularly Quinn) fighting for attention against the brilliantly conceived central premise.
As is common in a lot of Millar’s work, the early stages are all about immersing you in the action, and the narrative has a distinct filmic sensibility in both intention and influence. Clearly, Millar had one eye on a future big screen adaptation and the tone is pitched more toward a humorous action adventure as opposed to serious sci-fi. As such, much of the science is left to the imagination, most likely for pacing reasons, but it does leave the plot exposed at points, with some elements difficult to reconcile.
Those concerns aside, there is one piece of the overall package that will certainly see me return for more, and that is the outstanding cinematic artwork of Sean Murphy. Frenetic, and meticulously detailed, his storytelling is smooth and confident, recalling both Romita Jnr. and Kastuhiro Otomo in equal measure. He shows a great line in visual humour, too, and really sells the ‘bromance’ between the two leads through some comical interactions. On colour duties, Matt Hollingsworth really brings out the best in Murphy’s linework. The palette is bold at times without being overbearing, and suitably toned down when required, giving the book a natural feel throughout.
Despite the lack of character development at this point, Chrononauts is a fast-paced, fun, and gorgeously drawn book, and looks like it’s another sure-fire winner for Millar, both on the page and on the silver screen.