Tuesday, December 13, 2011

CHRONOS #5 - July 1998

Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), Paul Guinan (penciler), Doug Hazlewood & Dexter Vines (inks), Willie Schubert (letters), Mike Danza (colors)

1998: Chronos returns to his apartment with Alex, who’s amused by his outdated video game systems. Alex receives a message from the mysterious Goodfellow on her Keystone and travels across time with Chronos to the Temple of Eternity. This temple allows Goodfellow’s troupe to travel anywhere though time…which seems kind of redundant given the time-traveling Keystone devices they carry. I realize that the Keystones don’t allow them to travel directly from one era to another -- they have to keep hopping around time until they reach their destination -- but since the time-hopping doesn’t seem to bother them so much, I’m not sure why the temple is supposed to be so important. Why exactly is Moore attaching so much continuity to the troupe’s time travels?

After pushing in a piece of the Gate of Eternity (which resembles a giant Aztec calendar), they travel to…

1865: In nineteenth century France, Chronos meets the leader of the troupe, Lucas Goodfellow. He explains that he was plucked out of time at the moment of death and paired with eleven other “time-lost wayfarers who had been shanghaied by a mysterious power.” He formed the Lucas Goodfellow Traveling Theatrical Troupe to ensure that certain historical events occur. He asks Chronos to join, but he refuses. Later on, a monologue will reveal that he’s scared at the prospect of becoming a hero, and he doesn’t want time travel to ravage his body the way it’s destroyed David Clinton’s.

Alex learns that her grandmother Cassandra has died. Goodfellow hands her a silver dragon necklace that’s been left for her. Chronos touches it and is briefly transported to eleventh century China. (This is the scene featuring the ancient Chinese city of Kaifeng miscolored “in dark purple and chartreuse” that penciler Paul Guinan complained about when announcing the book’s cancellation. And he’s right; the colors on this page are muddy and kind of ugly.) Chronos catches a glimpse of Cassandra, who wears a hood that conceals her face. I have a feeling this is significant later on…

1998: Anyway, Chronos returns home and picks up a photo of his deceased mother. What would you expect anyone with time travelling powers to do? He uses his ability to travel back to his childhood, of course.

1985: Berkley, California. This is one of my favorite sequences in the series. Moore’s already explored some of the traditional science fiction time-travel plots, and now he’s using the premise to examine an idea that’s relatable for everyone. Who wouldn’t want to revisit their childhood home? I wasn’t as old as Walker Gabriel in 1985, but I had a similar collection of Super Powers action figures in my bedroom (although the DC Universe seems to have produced toys that didn’t exist in our world, such as a Golden Age Flash figure). Walker sees his mother and his younger self playing outside. He wants to talk to her, but what could he even say?

Upstairs, Chronos plans on leaving a note for his mother, hoping to warn her of a fatal car accident eight months in the future. He overhears his parents arguing about his birth parents, a subject he didn’t think they knew anything about. He investigates his father’s office and finds a book with yet another Aztec calendar on the outside. He opens it to discover a map of Chronopolis. Touching the drawing, he’s taken to Chronopolis during the days of its construction, and is quickly sent back home by a discourteous cyborg. Back in 1998, Chronos answers the phone to discover his predecessor, David Clinton, is dead.

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