Thursday, March 26, 2015

Review - Past Aways #1

"Something strange happened in Greece today."

Some will say that the best kind of work is teamwork. Teamwork makes just about everything better, including traveling through time. Having good team cohesion is another matter though and while it might make some incidents a little tougher to handle, it does make for quite an entertaining read. Dark Horse Comics is big on entertainment in Past Aways #1. The issue is written by Matt Kindt, illustrated by Scott Kolins, colored by Bill Crabtree and lettered by Rob Leigh.

2015: the distant past. A crash landing strands five deep-time explorers in a primitive world of internal-combustion engines and Internet 1.0 and tears a rift in space-time that spouts dinosaurs, giant robots and other strange phenomena. Only the marooned “Past Aways” can defend the twenty-first century, unless the tensions of their unexpectedly prolonged mission tear them apart.

Kindt ensures that Past Aways #1 very much has a "getting the band back together" feel to it. The members of the team are about as dysfunctional as they can be, yet there's some cohesion to them when they come together for a common purpose. Kindt's introduction of each character is handled fairly amusingly, as they're shown to the reader in a way that reinforces their predominant personality traits. And Kindt's not shy about how those problems manifest themselves as reflections of other problems in society, additionally working in subtle technological references that seem to exacerbate a character's tendencies to act in a certain way. Having said that, there's still some slight shortcomings with giving the reader enough information about the characters, primarily because the first issue just feels so frenetic.

The panel layouts in Past Aways #1 feels very fresh and staggered, providing a look to it that effectively accompanies the zaniness of time travel. Kolins' characters are equally as unique and his style has a grit to it that fits with the insane situations the group finds itself in. Each of his characters feel like they have a presence to them, courtesy of some heft put into them through Kolins' style. The gutters are emptied for the most part, save for a few instances where background action spills through them. Crabtree's coloring accents the action well, traversing a range that covers a seed bar to the top of a volcano.

Past Aways #1 feels a lot like an episode of Sealab 2021, in that the characters are nuts and the situations they find themselves in are zany. The characters have individual personalities to them that are in direct conflict with one another, despite them finding it necessary to team up on occasion. Kindt's story feels a little erratic at times, partly owing to the characters and partly owing to the fact that there's a lot going on. Kolins' art is a good complement to the plot, lending a jittery credibility to the work that fits the team dynamic. Past Aways #1 features a lot of the high-points of an 80s montage where a team gets back together; whether or not it gets more focused in future issues remains to be seen.

Past Aways #1 is in stores now with interiors below.


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