Chrononauts: Futureshock Uses Slickness to Hide Heartwarming Center

In "Reason to Get Excited," I spotlight things from modern comics that I think are worth getting excited about. I mean stuff more specific than "this comic is good," ya know? More like a specific bit from a writer or artist that impressed me.

Today, as we conclude fitting a month's worth of Reasons to Get Excited into a few days, we look at how Mark Millar and Eric Canete (colors by Giovanna Niro) deliver an time traveling adventure spectacle that has a sweet and heartfelt position at the center of the narrative.


When Mark Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy launched Chrononauts, the real selling point was just how over-the-top the drama was. Murphy is such a brilliant artist that he could draw whatever wild ideas that Millar could come up with and Millar can come up with a whole lot of wild ideas. So the first series was just a fun time. It was a good comic book, but it was definitely on the lighthearted side of things.

Thus, when Millar returned to the world of Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly, now with Eric Canete filling in for Murphy, it is understandable to expect such an approach in this series, as well.

The first issue opens up with them as basically scientist rock stars...

After they are lost in time in their attempt to go to the future, they quickly figure things out and they return as rock stars/conquering heroes...

However, Corbin Quinn then realizes that the reason he hasn't been able to get into the future is because someone has been blocking it from him and that's when he discovers that his old mentor, Professor Cross.

He has turned the future into a seeming utopia and he soon gets Quinn and Reilly on board with working with him. The idea is that whenever something goes wrong in the future, they go into the past and change things so that it is fixed in the future. Like, if some guy is causing trouble, you just convince him to get out of one field and into another and voila, he's no longer a problem.

The issue is that there is a far right extremist who is causing ALL sorts of problems in the past and ultimately, Cross decides that he has to have her killed before she becomes too influential, which is when she is 10 years old. He sends Corbin and Danny, but they can't do it.

This leads to a masterful battle through time, with Millar using all the tricks you can think of (including Chekov's wristband computer that works on voice command) until the good guys win, but in the process, the future is doomed.

Instead of following in Cross' footsteps, though, Corbin decides to ADOPT the racist little girl and teach her a better way and thus build a better future. It's an awesomely sweet and optimistic ending for the series.

Meanwhile, Danny knows he can't change his mother's death, but he never gives up, either, and comes up with an ingenious solution to that issue, as well. It's all really heartfelt stuff.

It's probably one of the happiest endings I can recall for a Mark Millar comic book series (and he's had a number of happy endings, just noting that this is probably the happIEST).

Okay, this feature is a bit less of a reader-interactive one, as I'm just spotlight stuff in modern comics that specifically impressed ME, but heck, if you'd like to send in some suggestions anyways, maybe you and I have the same taste! It's certainly not improbably that something you found cool would be something that I found cool, too, so feel free to send ideas to me at brianc@cbr.com!

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