Comeback #5

Story by
Art by
Michael Walsh
Colors by
Jordie Bellaire
Letters by
Ed Brisson
Cover by
Image Comics

I said last month that Ed Brisson was telling a time travel tale that didn't get caught up on its own plot device in "Comeback." While this final issue relies on time travel to tell a satisfying conclusion, it all makes sense given everything laid out in the story so far. Brisson is quick to point out that while time travel has changed the timeline multiple times, it's not quickly forgotten or brushed aside.

It's fun to read a time travel story in which the characters are aware of the changes, and can act on that. It's central to this conclusion, where Mark Thomas cuts a deal to hop back one last time to help the FBI catch their man and set things right, once and for all. Even though the FBI knows it's risky, they have no choice, and off Mark goes to hold the guilty accountable for their actions while saving his partner's life. Thomas isn't a clear-cut hero. He's in a muddy gray area, choosing his travel specifically to allow the guilty to take care of themselves while he slips in to do the least amount of work to fix things. And then, in the end, he adds one last twist to help the plot come full circle.

A mini-series that started out as an interesting twist in a standard science-fiction trope by adding corporate sponsorship turns out to be a tale of a corrupt businessman and his muscle gone AWOL. In the end, it's the little guy employee from the company that needs to make the tough decisions and do the dirty work and save the day.

Michael Walsh does a stellar job drawing the issue, mixing in wide shots with close-ups and medium shots to tell the story. The book never gets claustrophobic from artistic shortcuts, nor does it ever feel cheated by a lack of backgrounds or shortcuts in the layouts. Walsh knows when to draw in the details -- establishing panels -- and when to let them drop out or be simplified to focus the story on what's happening in the foreground.

Walsh is not a superhero exaggerator working in a noir comic series. His characters never come at you from extreme angles or with unnatural dexterity. That keeps the book feeling "real," even for a series involving time travel.

Jordie Bellaire helps with her colors, often adding slight textures to the background to pop the characters forward a bit and give the eye a little extra detail to keep things from looking plain. Her shadows are also well defined and undersold, which helps them to blend into the art better than many colorists whose work starts to steal the show.

And Brisson's own lettering blends in well with the art, using a little extra white space above and below the letters while keeping a slightly squared-off circular shape for the balloons that maintains its consistency over the course of the book. In a way, it mimics the more open art of Walsh, so there's no competition there for the eye's attention.

Ultimately, "Comeback" is a pleasant surprise. It arrived on the scene without much fanfare, but told a compelling story with a high concept that delivered. Brisson is a writer to look out for in the future, and Michael Walsh is a star artist with a bright future. He's already been tapped to draw the upcoming "X-Files" book at IDW. Catch up on this book now and you can say you knew them when.

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