Monday, December 5, 2011

CHRONOS #3 - May 1998

Renaissance Man
Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), Paul Guinan (penciler), Steve Leialoha (inks), Willie Schubert (letters), Mike Danza (colors)

1873: Chronos is caught by the Linear Man, whose name we learn is Traven. The time-traveling actress, whose name is revealed as Alexandra Damaskinos, walks in on them and realizes that Chronos must be the reason why her tribe has been sent to the nineteenth century. During the confrontation, Chronos activates the strange metal disk, which we learn is called a Keystone, and escapes with Alex.

1998: The original Chronos is meeting with a lawyer to discuss his will. He’s represented by the ex-wife of his former foe, the Atom -- Jean Loring. This scene is mainly here to remind us that David Clinton is still fading in and out of existence, but just imagine if the creators of this book really did have access to the future! We could’ve been warned about Identity Crisis years in advance.

1464: Chronos and Alex have landed in Renaissance-era Florence. Some continuity is established (Alex belongs to a group of time-travelers led by a “Goodfellow,” only its members should be able to use the Keystones, they disguise themselves as actors because performers are supposed to be eccentric, the villain Vyronis is a former member, and the tribe can’t travel to anywhen they feel like -- points in time are connected to one another), and another DC character makes a gratuitous cameo. Jason Blood, whose demon form only appears in shadow, is hanging around Vyronis and his lover Fiorella for no obvious reason. He recognizes Chronos, who has no idea who Blood is, which means Moore probably planned on teaming Chronos and the Demon together in a later story (set in an earlier time period, of course).

Outside of Time: At the Vanishing Point, Traven reports to his commander and is sent to another era with a chronal energy surge -- Florence, 1464.

1464: Chronos learns why Vyronis hired him to steal the tachyon generator, and it naturally involves a giant machine that can destroy the entire timeline. Vyronis is convinced that he can use his “Time Masher” to disrupt the flow of time and reshape it however he pleases. Chronos just wants to go home. When Traven arrives to finish his arrest, Chronos manages to steal his gun from him. Chronos strikes a deal with Vyronis; he’ll keep Traven at bay long enough for Vyronis to activate the Time Masher, provided Vyronis sends him back home to 1998. (Who wouldn’t long to relive the days of endless Viagra jokes and the Lewinsky scandal?) Cliffhanger: Vyronis activates the machine and the world disappears in a flash of light. Chronos wonders if he’s made the wrong decision.

Obviously, Moore’s crammed a lot into this issue. This is the most continuity we’ve been exposed to so far, and he’s given several issues worth of information out in just a handful of pages. There’s so much going on Chronos often feels like a bit player in the drama, which is an unusual route to take in an ongoing series. I think the storyline is interesting enough to justify all of the digressions, but I can see why a casual reader would begin to feel lost at this point, and this is only the third issue. When Chronos is allowed to show some personality, we’re reminded that he isn’t a traditional superhero protagonist. Walker isn’t particularly iniquitous, but he’s willing to go along with a villain’s plan if it means getting what he wants. The unpredictably of Chronos’ actions, and where exactly they’ll lead him, is one of my favorite aspects of the book.

And, speaking of time travel, here’s the back cover ad for the original Grand Theft Auto game. Who could’ve guessed where this gimmicky premise would lead?

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