A Wild Dinosaur Appears! Past Aways #1 ReviewMarch 21, 2015
Past Aways #1 is a comic that starts strongly; any comic that features a tiny dinosaur shooting acid out of its backside in the opening pages gets a firm thumbs up for me. But of course, Past Aways is more than just acid shooting dinosaur backsides.
Past Aways is a new Dark Horse Comics series from Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) and Scott Kolins (The Flash) about a band of time travellers from the future, stuck in our present day. However, the appearance of said dinosaur suggests that they may finally be able to make it home.
There’s a lot to like about Past Aways. The art is terrific; lots of vibrant colours and some really innovative panel layout. Kolins has put together a lovely book to look at. There’s also the clever use of breakout boxes to explain the various gadgets that pop up throughout the issue, which feels a little like the word definitions that pop up in Valiant Comics’ Archer & Armstrong.
It’s also a genuinely funny comic, even if you may feel a little guilty for laughing at some of the more vulgar jokes (for example, the tactic one of the team employs to prevent the dinosaur from shooting any more acid… but I won’t spoil anything).
However, it’s not a book without flaws. It’s difficult to try to introduce five brand new characters in the space of a single comic, so we don’t get much insight into any of them or what makes them tick. In fact, the cover is even used to try to explain some of the character traits, which is a nice idea, though I’m not sure it’s entirely successful. It tells us things about the characters that then simply aren’t touched or elaborated on in the first issue.
That’s a problem because the whole set up of the Past Aways #1 is that the appearance of the dinosaur brings the members of the team back together, having gone their separate ways since becoming trapped in our present a year earlier. It’s basically the montage moment in every team action film ever made: the members of the team are all at odds, an event occurs to bring them together, hit the rock music and lets have a feel-good montage, but without being invested in who those characters are, it’s a little difficult to care that they suddenly have this renewed sense of purpose for uniting.
Past Aways #1 is a fun read, but, early on at least, I get the feeling it will be a more satisfying read in trade form.