Review: Time Warp #1


Time Warp #1 is a pretty cool anthology book from Vertigo, and it features nine short stories about the general notion of time travel from a lot of talented, interesting creators. It’s an entertaining read with a lot to talk about, so let’s make with the rundown.

“R.I.P.” is written by Damon Lindelof with art from Jeff Lemire, and one supposes Vertigo has free rein to borrow DC characters from time to time, as it’s a Rip Hunter story about a pseudo-paradox where future versions of himself keep traveling back to the dinosaur age to prevent his younger self from getting eaten by one. Hunter’s alternate selves are amusingly cussy and short with him, and Lemire does a good rough and tumble job with the artwork.

“It’s Full of Demons” by Tom King and Tom Fowler opens with a weird orange fiery-looking spaceman showing up in 1901 to shoot a young child through the head while he was innocently playing, leaving his sister with traumatic confusion, believing a demon killed her brother, Addie. She gets locked up and goes through hell, descending into madness while the world which unfolds around her is a much more peaceful and progressive history than we know in our reality. Very well paced and plotted, even though the initial obfuscation isn’t quite enough to make the final reveal unguessable.

“I Have What You Need” is a nice, twisted story from Gail Simone, with cute, cartoony art from Gael Bertrand. A candymaker vends a special sort of confection that allows people to relive ten perfect minutes of their lives – helping a sick child remember learning to ski with his father, and a lonely widower experiencing his wife again. The twist comes in when a rich creep wants to relive the murder of his wife over and over again.

“The Grudge,” from one of my current favorite writers in Simon Spurrier, with great illustrations by Michael Dowling, is right in line with his general milieu of irreverent, high-minded bastardry. Two dueling scientists manage to make their genius work a popular, inspiring trend by waging a war of highly public insults via remarkable scientific breakthroughs. Spurrier never fails to entertain. X-Club, Extermination, X-Men Legacy and here, as well. Plus, that makes two cool books in two weeks to make excellent use of the word ‘twat.’

“The Dead Boy Detectives” from Toby Litt and Mark Buckingham is the only story here that isn’t complete, as they are characters from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman books whose chapter here seems designed simply to plug their upcoming appearance in The Witching Hour Anthology.

“She’s Not There” by Peter Milligan and M.K. Perker is a wonderfully creepy bit of Twilight-Zoney storytelling, where a lovelorn man pays a company to manufacture a ghost of his wife, until it slowly turns out that he’s not so much ‘lovelorn’ as he is ‘obsessively controlling.’ Art and story complement each other beautifully, although it, too, seems to have a somewhat ambiguous ending that almost lends itself to a second chapter in some other book. Almost.

“00:00:03:00” from Ray Fawkes and Andy MacDonald is a solid little bit of paramilitary drama, as a soldier on the front lines of interstellar war gets caught in an explosion, and three seconds before she’ll die, she activates a standard-protocol time dilation field, which gives her 20 minutes experience for each second of real-time, but she can’t affect the outcome. This gives her time to gather up logs and information from her outpost and beam them back to home base, but she’s also assaulted with memories that take her down another route.

“Warning Danger” by Matt Kindt tries to show us a curious balance between sating our visceral thrill for combat and competition without the cruel finality of ‘to the death,’ as two struggling societies pit their champions against each other in painstakingly non-lethal fighting for control of resources. Kindt drowns us in detailed descriptions of the weaponry involved and, although his concepts are pretty imaginative and cool and it serves the point of his story well, one can’t help but feel it sort of belabors it. His artwork is very watercolorish and loose.

“The Principle” by Dan Abnett and his New Deadwardians partner I.N.J. Culbard brings things full circle by showing us two workaday security schlubs who are forced to safeguard history from commercialized time travel yahoos trying to change it, which will only destroy it. However, it sort of drives me nuts, because it’s called “The Principle” but I’m pretty sure the context in which they use the word necessitates the “principal” spelling, because it refers to a person, a important subject they must guard, rather than an idea… but then again, the story speaks to the defense of a concept as well, so really, the characters in the story should use the word ‘principal,’ but I’d be okay with the story still being called “The Principle” and yes, grammar questions can completely derail my enjoyment of a story sometimes.

Anyway, Time Warp #1 overall is a lovely collection of shorts from good people. If you’re anything like me, you’ll dig it.


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