I was wary about “Time Masters: Vanishing Point” when it was first announced. Sure, it was by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund, whose work on “Booster Gold” I enjoyed, so at first it looked to have potential. But it was hard to ignore that it also looked like a quick cash grab to tie into “Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne.” So, at best, the hope was that “Time Masters” would at least stand on its own as something worth reading regardless of the event it was connected to.
Unfortunately, that’s not what we as readers ended up with. Dan Jurgens looks to have been tasked with writing his mini-series around “Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne,” complete with pages that take place before and after the second issue. The thing is, it’s missing all of the critical pages from that issue, so if someone had bought “Time Masters: Vanishing Point” on its own they’re not even getting half of the story.
Worse, the half of the story they do get? It’s not up to Jurgens’ standards from “Booster Gold.” Sure, it’s nice to see the whole gang of Booster, Skeets, Rip, Goldstar, and Supernova again. But the story feels a little old and recycled. Returning villains attacking the base, and mysterious explosions that I have a bad feeling aren’t going to be resolved here. Even semi-climactic moments happen between panels. I can’t say with any sort of insider knowledge that Jurgens was writing “Time Masters” off of editorial notes, but as a reader that’s what it certainly feels like, and that’s hardly a way to win a reader’s heart.
In the end, the only plus is Jurgens and Rapmund’s art, which is all right. I appreciate that they’re one of the few superhero artists who can give people normal physiques, like Rip Hunter when he’s walking around in a t-shirt and pants. And generally speaking, their art is crisp and attractive; it’s nothing mind-blowing, but it’s consistent and solid.
At first, I started to wonder if I’d set my sights too high with “Time Masters: Vanishing Point.” But looking at my bookshelf, I was reminded that you can have tie-in mini-series that still function well on their own. “Villains United” is probably the best example of all, eventually spawning a “Secret Six” mini-series and then ongoing series, probably in part because you didn’t need to read “Crisis on Infinite Earths” to enjoy it. “Time Masters: Vanishing Point” might’ve been all right if it had managed to exist as its own entity. As random pages scattered throughout “Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne” #2? Not so much.