Review – Back in the Day

I think it's safe to say that we all have regrets in our lives. Perhaps we never REALLY consider whether we would go back and change anything because, to my knowledge at least, no one has invented a time machine yet that allows us to do that. Well, what if they did? What if your friend came to you and said, “I have a time machine, how about we go take care of that ONE big regret in your life.” Such is the story here of Mikey, Darren, and Todd; three unlikely friends who suddenly have exactly that opportunity in Back in the Day.

Action Lab Comics has given the greenlight to Dave Dwonch and Daniel Logan to bring us this 71 page story of time travel gone right and wrong. In this tale we find out that going back to change the past seems like a good idea, but the unintended consequences are always hard to face. Sometimes things are the way they are for a reason, and changing them doesn’t truly bring happiness.

I feel like you can see where I’m going with this. If you're already intrigued then you need not read on, just pick up the book when you see it. If you’d like to learn a little bit more, read on please, I won’t try to stop you.

If you wanted to characterize the three main people in this comic I suppose Todd would be the sensible sweetheart, Mikey would be the ladies man who never grows out of the 80s, and Darren would be simply the genius. The story starts off with three high school kids in 1987. We learn a little bit about them and how they operate and then we see them 20 years later.

They're over their various regrets and we're treated to some amusing stories. At first it seems like this graphic novel is really just going to be about guys talking about their lives, then…TIME MACHINE!

You see, Darren has been working on a project that will allow him to go back in time and correct his life’s one great regret. Of course, that regreat happens to be a girl he never called. The proverbial “one that got away.”

Todd has a good life but regrets never being a little wilder in high school. Mikey has one fling that he blew and wants to go back and be the ladies man he turned into right from the start. How does one fix all your problems in high school? Throw a rager of course! Party time!

From here events spiral from humorous when the future guys meet their high school equivalents – and no there isn’t some time altering paradox – to tragic when the results of their master plan are fully revealed.

I feel compelled to say little more as the story is one that's been done before. This book puts new twists on it but there is just a little too much Butterfly Effect for me. It doesn’t feel as unique as I would have liked and it still seems like some interesting plot twists aren’t really tied up. Sure I could just assume that they didn’t affect the future and didn’t need to be addressed, but since the whole tone of the comic was how small events can completely alter the future, having some small changes do nothing seemed a little off to me.

That said, these two young artists are obviously very talented. The art is crisp and consistent throughout without trying to be too realistic. I came to this realization about video games the other day and I think the same applies to comics. Why does EVERYTHING have to be realistic? I think the art strikes a nice tone between being a comic and still representing real life here. I also appreciated the brevity that was given with trying to explain the science behind a time machine. It wasn’t necessary and time wasn’t wasted there.

What I will say is the characters are human, very real emotionally, and totally compelling. You find yourself caring and the emotional ranges that are shown are depicted really well. If I were going to make a checklist I’d say that I enjoyed the art, loved the characters and their development, but I really was left a little wanting for truly original storytelling.

All in all this was a good effort and if stories of time travel and how it could totally alter every day life interest you, it's worth a pick. Back in the Day from Action Lab is available now.

Happy reading.