“Timeless,” Part 01
Writer: Bryan Hitch
Artist: Fernando Pasarin
Now that the massive Justice League vs Suicide Squad event is over, this book can get back to telling its own stories and begin a new arc. “Timeless” kicks off in this issue and sets up a story that I thought was heading one way but ended in another. I understand that the main concept of this issue (and assumedly the whole arc) is time, but honestly the timelines in this issue are confusing and every page turn threw me deeper into that hole. Allow me to explain.
There comes a time in any group-focused series (comic book or otherwise) where the team is split up among different times. It’s a pretty solid story to roll with. My favorite example would have to be the “Return of the Ultimate Ninja” arc from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 series). It was executed brilliantly (but then again that whole show was perfect) and it made for a compelling story. Upon opening this issue and reaching almost the final page, the team seems to be split up amongst various points in time, but the final page reveals that this isn’t the case? I have to admit this issue is confusing.
The issue starts in “the present” with Clark and Bruce, before showing Aquaman for a page and turning to “yesterday.” Throughout the rest of the issue, we are not given anymore time stamps, and only a few location stamps, but it seems as though the cutaways from the “yesterday” action take place the following day? Or in the past?? But then again, I am not entirely sure, because at the end of the issue the entire team is seen standing together in the mid-west overlooking what is described to us as a “temporal bomb.” Its purpose is straightforward: to eliminate the super powers from the world and make the human race “pure” again.
There are a lot of assumptions to be made here. In my eyes, those scenes that cutaway from the action do take place in the future (well, the past?) and the ending of the issue where we see the team step into the detonation wave is them traveling to those times. The only thing I have to ask is why present it to us like that? Or, if you were wanting to do that, give us context before you throw the team into different time periods. Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to seeing what comes next and to whether my guesses were correct, but right now, I have read the issue three times and only understood what was happening a little bit more each time.
I know that this is mostly negative right now, but let’s focus on the positives. The art is amazing. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve seen a single issue among any Rebirth series that hasn’t taken my breath away, and this one is no exception. We have Fernando Pasarin on pencils, Matt Ryan on inks, Brad Anderson on color, and Richard Starkings and Comicraft on lettering. This team has really given the League a realistic look and I don’t think there was a single panel I didn’t perform a double take on. And, although I did say it was confusing (many times), I did enjoy the writing. Perhaps it’s just me in my almost-always-sleep-deprived state missing one key line of dialogue, or perhaps this issue is as confusing as I think it is, but the writing for the scenes – if you take them apart and view them separately – was very well done.
Ultimately, Hitch and his team have set up a potentially interesting story in a somewhat confusing way. I am intrigued to see where they take this arc and whether or not things will smooth out as time goes on (if you’ll pardon the pun). “Timeless” seems like it is going to make more sense with each issue, but for now I’m left happy, but confused.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment