Happy Comic Release Day!
Today’s review is about Time Bomb, an aptly named comic from Radical Publishing. I read the first issue a while back and thought it was fun but waited until it was collected in a trade paperback to write a review.
In the present day, a mysterious rocket created by the Nazis is found underneath Berlin. It’s accidentally set off and releases a deadly plague across the planet. The only hope for humanity’s salvation is to use a time machine (of course) to send a specialized team of four people back to before the bomb went off. Unfortunately, instead of landing only a few years in the past, the team lands (naturally) smack in the middle of Nazi Germany and has to fight their way to the bomb. There is much killing of Nazis, a noble sacrifice, a lost love and a confrontation (of course) with Hitler himself.
What Adults Will Like About It:
If you think my above summary sounds like a big summer blockbuster movie — complete with stuff that blows up real good — yes, the story is like that but in a good way. It’s a great action-adventure tale with excellent pacing and suspense but it’s never going to win awards for thematic depth. It’s the kind of book where the African-American member of the team gets to beat up Hitler, the spy who ends up helping them is a beautiful woman and contains a torture sequence where one of the leads makes jokes. In other words, it reads like a great popcorn movie. I give the book extra credit for making the female member of the team as competent as the three men.
What Kids Will Like About It:
I would give this one an R-rating for obscenities, violence and sexual situations. I wouldn’t give it to my 11-year-old but I would probably let my 15-year-old read it and he would most likely enjoy it, as my husband did. The art by Paul Gulacy is excellent at all the action sequences. He also draws incredibly detailed backgrounds of war-torn Germany, the underground bunker and a concentration camp.
But whether you let your teen read it depends on your tolerance as a parent. I will say that the violence could have been gorier but that just means that the artist didn’t linger on, say, the plague victims dissolving and dying. There’s blood, people die from explosions, gunfire and being stabbed. The concentration camp sequence is drawn realistically.
About the Creators:
Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, the co-writers, have gained acclaim as a team. They worked together on DC’s Jonah Hex revival and Power Girl. Gulacy, the artist, worked with the pair on Jonah Hex and has a resume that goes back to the Marvel’s Master of Kung Fu series from 1974-76. I have a special fondness for the limited series Batman: Outlaws that Gulacy did with Moench. Unfortunately, that series doesn’t seem to be collected in trade.
Charles Yoakum, who inked Gulacy in Batman: Outlaws also inked the first twenty-one pages of Time Bomb. No doubt that’s why I was reminded so strongly of the earlier work.
Extras in the Trade:
There is a reprinted interview with Palmiotti (adult content warning if you click on the blog) and Gray in the back of the trade that confirms that Time Bomb’s similarity to a movie is no accident. It’s a lengthy, fascinating interview and worth reading after finishing the story.
There’s also a facebook fan page with extras and never-before-seen-material.