Past Aways #2: Colourful Time Travelling Tale is Both Funny and Heartbreaking
The second issue of Dark Horse Comics’ Past Aways is a terrific follow up to a strong opening issue.
In issue #1, writer Matt Kindt and artist Scott Kolins introduced us to a team of time travellers, who have come back in to time learn more about our present. However, something has happened which has trapped them here in our time.. Unable to go home or die (thanks to the intricacies of time travel), the team has fallen out and gone their separate ways.
That all changed with the appearance of a tiny dinosaur which could shoot acid out of its behind (seriously) which gave them hope that they could make use of a tear in the time stream to go home.
When I reviewed the opening issue, my only real criticism was that it was tough to get much of an insight into the different personalities on the team. You only have so much space in a single comic, after all.
Thankfully Past Aways #2 does a tremendous job of fleshing out the characters and giving us an idea of who they are and what drove them to take on the mission to the past.
Two in particular stand out to me. First is the flashback with Ursula, who in the first issue is repeatedly, explicitly trying to commit suicide. However, in her flashback here, she seems a completely different person. Just what happened to her in the 21st Century to drive her so deeply into depression?
The other flashback takes place in a sort of digital cemetery and is genuinely one of the most moving, heartbreaking pages of a comic I’ve read this year. It’s just wonderfully handled.
Now, that probably all sounds a little dark and depressing, which isn’t a fair reflection of Past Aways at all. There’s plenty of humour in here, with the breakout boxes explaining the technology once again the highlight. It’s such a creative use of the page, and just seeing there is a red box around something on the panel is enough to make me smile ahead of the wacky description. The Huckleberry Finn reference in particular is superb.
As with issue #1, I’m a big fan of the art. I really enjoyed the way Kolins shows us Art, the leader of the team, taking his reunited colleagues around their new headquarters, and Bill Crabtree’s colours do a great job of making the book a vibrant, exciting thing to read.
Past Aways #2 includes our first real action scene, and leaves us with a big cliffhanger. Even without that particular drama I’d be coming back for issue #3, as Kindt and Kolins have done a cracking job building the foundations for this story.