Published on March 18th, 2015 | by Noel Thorne0
Chrononauts #1 Review
If there’s one thing the millions of time travel stories over the many decades has taught us, it’s that time travel is always a good idea and things never go wrong. Right? Oh…
Mark Millar’s latest movie storyboard, Chrononauts, shows us what happens when two “rockstar scientists” decide to time travel – namely, bad stuff. Sean Murphy is along for the ride as the latest artist who wants to get movie money so happily hitches his wagon to Millar’s. And that’s basically it. Chrononauts #1 is a very simplistic, uninteresting comic with a nothing premise at its shallow core.
First of all, I’m not sure why anyone wouldn’t mention that maybe time travel isn’t a good idea especially as – that tired cliche of cliches – changing the past might affect the present. That’s kind of a big concern and more than a bit reckless isn’t it? It’s also never worked out for anyone before so why would it go well here? Oh, because, as one of our “rockstar scientists” says, they don’t “do mistakes”. Well, that’s cool then. But mistakes do happen so… I guess they’re idiots.
Which is the biggest problem with Chrononauts: the douchebag main characters, Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly. Isn’t the “rockstar scientist” crap played out and corny at this point? Image seem to really love this archetype. We’ve got Nowhere Men, Black Science (which has basically the same story as Chrononauts), and now this. It’s like Image wants you to think “science is cool, kids!” which sounds pretty naff. You know who’s a cool scientist? Neil DeGrasse Tyson – and he is nothing like this pair of meatheads.
Because, while the label is stupid, what’s worse is the characters’ obnoxious personalities. Corbin and Danny drive cool motorbikes and cars, because that’s what “rockstar scientists” do! They fistbump because they’re bros, yo! Danny flexes in front of cameras at press conferences because he works out so he’s got to show off and – gasp! – did he just put his feet up on the desk? What a rebel!! Later on he’s wrestling a groupie onto the floor in front of the cameras – because he’s a “rockstar scientist”! – while idly boasting about all the co-eds they’re going to bang once this time travel experiment goes well and they hit the lecture circuit! Yeah, brah!
Not only are these the most laughable, unconvincing “scientist” characters ever created, they are complete scumbags you would not tire of seeing hit in the face repeatedly with a shovel. Because the concept is so unoriginal, Millar must be aiming to make the reader root for this pair instead except he completely fails. I’m not at all bothered whether these two jocks live or die somewhere in the past – in fact, I’d prefer them to die. There’s nothing here to enjoy: the story is boring and the characters are written as awful cartoons that are impossible to like.
Murphy’s art isn’t bad and the comic looks fine – the time travel effects look cool thanks in no small part to colourist Matt Hollingsworth – but his designs are a bit unimaginative. The time travel portal looks like the stargate from Stargate while the time travel drone looks like Sputnik from real life, and the main characters look like every other male character he’s ever drawn. That said, a couple of panels did make me chuckle like when Danny points his fingers at the camera and a priest, watching it on TV elsewhere, points his fingers back, mimicking the raffish expression, and when an old lady is holding up a convenience store, pointing a gun at a teenager. Very small positives though.
Chrononauts #1 is your bog-standard time travel story with horrible main characters and a pathetic attempt at a love story to make it seem like one of them has a reason for returning – we’re talking Michael Bay-esque skill level here in setting that doozy up. This is dreadful stuff. I’d definitely give this comic a miss and then avoid the equally terrible film version that’ll probably appear in theatres two or three years down the line.
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Sean Gordon Murphy
Colourist: Matt Hollingsworth