Friday, July 12, 2013

Flashback Friday: Reviewing the 'Chronos' comic series

(I really miss this comic book. I'm an easy mark for time travel stories, and when they're done right I can't let go of them. I want to revisit them time after time (see what I did there?). I'd love to see Walker Gabriel show up in the current DC "New 52" universe. Anyway, here's my review of the series, Chronos, from the May 13, 1998 edition of The News Herald. This appeared in our "Generation NeXt" section, which often had comic book content.)

Catching up with 'Chronos'

Time is like light, according to Walker Gabriel.

"It's both a wave and a particle," he explains. "It can be diffused and reflected. The suit I'm wearing generates an energy field that bends time around me."

Walker is the not-too-bad bad guy — who just might turn out to be a hero after all — at the center of DC Comics' new monthly series, Chronos, about the rehabilitation of a time-traveling ne'er-do-well.

Writer John Francis Moore and penciller/co-creator Paul Guinan, joined by inker Steve Leialoha, have woven a tapestry of detailed characters, adventure and pseudo-science supported by artwork and pacing that bring disparate times and places to life with astonishing realism.

The first issue of Chronos was a dense mix of new and old DC characters and concepts. The second was less bewildering — Walker's misadventures trapped in 1873 in Smallville, Kansas, where he meets the Clark and Kent families and runs afoul of a Linear Man, one of the guardians of DC continuity, posing as a U.S. marshal.

(Think Back to the Future III meets The Terminator.)

By issue three — and the introduction of a devilish immortal who seems to have met Walker before — the weave of the storyline's tapestry begins to coalesce.

Walker's travels hold the promise of plenty of guest stars from DC history — from the weird West of Jonah Hex to the far future of the Legionnaires. Still, guest stars galore don't matter if there's not a strong character at the core — which, I think, Walker will come to be.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the story is his journey, not his destination. Walker is on a voyage of self-discovery, learning about how his past and future actions have (or, depending on the era, will have) affected people — and discovering the hero within the jaded young scientist.

The first glimmer of this greater man he will (did?) become is seen in issue one, when an older Walker materializes in time to save his younger self from a time-traveling enemy; his first real step toward heroism follows in issue two, when he plans to steal money from the family that gave him a home and a job — but his conscience won't let him.

Monthly from DC Comics
Highly recommended


(Another note: The series lasted only 11 regular issues, plus a "1 million" issue as part of a DC crossover. It ended with Walker erasing himself from history (actually creating an alternative timeline) in order to save his mother's life. It had so much potential. >>Just check out this page, where Walker meets Martha and Jonathan Kent on a dark country road one night just before they see a rocket crashland <<)

>>Also, I recently compared an image from Doctor Who to a cover of Chronos in this blog.<<

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