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Underrated: Time Before Time Volume One

Time got away from me this week, so we’re rerunning an older column from yesteryear.

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Time Before Time vol. 1.


Time Before TIme

Ever since I first watched Marty McFly try and find his way through the 50’s in Back To The Future, I’ve always enjoyed a good time travel story. There’s something about being able to witness history first hand that has always intrigued me, and I get oddly excited when thinking about the details and implications of how the time travelling actually works in different stories. For example can you change the past, or have your actions already happened eve though you haven’t done anything yet?

Is time a river where you can hop out and in at different points but you are still in the same river and it’s course doesn’t divert regardless of what you do, or does each action that you take that differs from what should have happened create something new?

Time Before Time aligns closer to the former example in the above paragraph. In the year 2140, the criminal gang the Syndicate will smuggle you back in time from a world with very little prospects or future to a time with a better tomorrow (albeit with no Wi-Fi). Tatsuo, one of the Syndicate’s time smugglers has had enough of the grind (and radiation exposure) of constant time jumps.

It’s about this moment when he’s caught up with an FBI agent who throws a bit of a wrench into his escape plan, which obviously works out well for the reader.

The comic wasn’t on my radar at all until I was filing back issues away at my LCS and something about the cover caught my eye. I’d love to say I picked it up and read it at home, but instead I stopped what I was doing and read it there and then, and upon finishing picked up the remaining five issues for cover price. There is a trade also available for those same issues, and while the story doesn’t end with the first volume, I’m writing about it today because it was really enjoyable. Time Before Time is one of those stories that I didn’t expect to find – I’m not going to say I didn’t expect to enjoy it, because I’d heard nothing about the book until I actually read the comic. Maybe my head was in the clouds with this one, but I don’t remember putting it in many pull boxes during the initial run of the individual comics earlier in the year, either. So assuming my shop is typical (which it very well may not be), I figured there’s a chance that the book has been slept on by a fair few people.

Do yourselves a favour, and check it out.


Join us next week where there will doubtless be another movie, series, comic or comic related thing discussed that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

The Superhero World of Radiant Black Expands with Two New Series

Two momentous new releases will join Kyle Higgins and Marcelo Costa’s Radiant Black in the Image Comics superhero universe in February 2022.

The month will kick off with an eye-melting, page-turning crossover superhero event in Supermassive one-shot by writers Kyle Higgins, Ryan Parrott, and Mat Groom and artist Francesco Manna. Then, fans will be primed and ready to return to comic shops to get their hands on the pulse-pounding new ongoing series launch—Rogue Sun by writer Ryan Parrott and artists Abel and Chris O’Halloran.  

These two epic superhero drops will leave Radiant Black fans breathless and provide a jolt of high octane action to new readers interested in jumping in on the excitement. 

First, 2021’s hottest new superhero Radiant Black launches into his first ever crossover event with the Image Comics debut of Inferno Girl Redspinning out of the highly successful Kickstarter—which is coming to Image later next year and the first appearance of Rogue Sun! Power Rangers: Shattered Grid architects Higgins, Parrott, Groom and Manna and colorist extraordinaire Igor Monti, unite for a one-shot, extra-length story so big it can only be called—Supermassive.

Next, Rogue Sun kicks 2022 into high gear when rebellious teenager Dylan Siegel discovers that the late superhero Rogue Sun was his estranged father, Marcus—and that he’s inherited his father’s mantle. Tasked with protecting our world from the forces of the supernatural—and solving his father’s murder—Dylan will be forced to come to terms with the man he’s spent the majority of his life hating. This new ongoing series is a supernatural murder mystery that explores the complicated bond between father and son and cements itself squarely in a corner of the Image Comics superhero universe. 

Supermassive one-shot will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, February 2: 

  • Cover A by Manna & Monti – Diamond Code DEC210098
  • Cover B by Marcelo Costa, Abel, Durso – Diamond Code DEC210099
  • Cover C 1:25 copy incentive – Diamond Code DEC210100
  • Cover D 1:50 copy incentive – Diamond Code DEC210101

Rogue Sun #1 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, February 16: 

  • Cover A by Declan Shalvey – Diamond Code DEC210054
  • Cover B by Goñi Montes – Diamond Code DEC210055
  • Cover C 1:10 copy incentive by Abel – Diamond Code DEC210056
  • Cover D 1:25 copy incentive by Daniele Di Nicuolo – Diamond Code DEC210057
  • Cover E 1:50 copy incentive by Booth – Diamond Code DEC210058

Joe Hill’s Rain Launches Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood’s Syzygy Publishing

 A graphic adaptation of Joe Hill’s Rain will serve as the debut offering from Syzygy Publishing, Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood’s new publishing venture. This first, five issue miniseries will kick off the new line of comics, graphic novels, and art books—from the Zombies vs Robots co-creators—beginning in January 2022

The award-winning creative team consisting of writer David M. Booher, artist Zoe Thorogood, colorist Chris O’Halloran, and letterer Shawn Lee will come together to bring Joe Hill’s Rain to sequential form. Ryall and Wood contribute editorial and logo/production design, respectively.

Rain first appeared in author Joe Hill’s acclaimed novella collection Strange Weather, and tells the story of a seemingly normal August day in Boulder, Colorado—the skies are clear and Honeysuckle Speck couldn’t be happier. She’s finally moving in with her girlfriend, Yolanda. But their world is literally torn apart when dark clouds roll in and release a downpour of nails—splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. 

Rain makes vivid this escalating apocalyptic event, as the deluge of nails spreads across the country and around the world, threatening everything young lovers Honeysuckle and Yolanda hold dear. 

Rain’s debut issue features a primary Klimpt-inspired cover illustrated by Thorogood; while Elizabeth Beals offers up a vibrant variant cover. Wood also pays tribute to Klimpt in a special painted 1:25 copy incentive cover. 

As an added highlight, each issue of Rain will feature a bonus story from Unnamed, an upcoming series by Ryall and Wood following immortal hunters in pursuit of a fanged creature and set during swingin’ ’60s London. 

Rain #1 (of 5), a 32-page, $3.99 comic, will hit shelves on January 12, 2022:

  • Cover A by Thorogood – Diamond Code NOV210023
  • Cover B by Beals – Diamond Code NOV210024
  • Cover C Blank cover – Diamond Code NOV210025
  • Cover D 1:25 copy incentive by Wood – Diamond Code NOV210026
  • Cover E 1:50 copy incentive De Liz – Diamond Code NOV210027
  • Cover F 1:100 copy incentive Thorogood sketch – Diamond Code NOV210028

Review: Scarenthood

Scarenthood

As a fan of Supernatural, I enjoyed the show for most of its entire run. I enjoyed the dynamics between the brothers and how they sacrificed themselves for each other. Season after season, the love between them and for those who they call “family”, made their adventures more than your typical procedural. At its core, it was really a show about family. The recently collected comic series Scarenthood has that same building block at its core.

I often wondered what kind of life the siblings of Supernatural would have if their lives were more stable. We saw a bit of this in the series finale, as one meets their end during a job while the other goes on to live a “normal” life. I secretly wanted both of them to find peace in the series conclusion. In a similar iteration, Nick Roche and Chris O’Halloran gives us a spin on this very question with their deceivingly biting Scarenthood.

The comic focuses on a group of parents, Jen, Cormac, Rhona, and Flynno, as they commiserate over what they will do when they don’t have their kids. From there the story spirals into an investigation concerning the schoolhouse the kids go to. Scarenthood delivers a flipped dynamic of what we’d expect. Instead of the kids investigating the haunting and what goes bump in the night, it’s the parents while the kids are away.

The series delivers its strength in the setup but then getting the reader to question what’s real, if anything. Is this just parents breaking down and losing it? Is there really an evil force out there. The series does a great job leaving you guessing as it builds. But, no matter what, the series focuses on the relationships between the parents and the parents and the kids to build a group of characters you care about.

Overall, Scarenthood an eerie and relatable story. The story by Roche is scary. The art by Roche and O’Halloran is gorgeous. Altogether, an excellent comic collection that is a fine addition to the horror genre.

Story: Nick Roche Art: Nick Roche and Chris O’Halloran
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance Recruits an Impressive Cover Lineup

Image Comics has revealed a fleet of stunning variant covers by superstar artists Bengal, Farel Dalrymple, Sanford Greene, Tula Lotay, and Rafael Albuquerque for the highly anticipated launch of A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance by writer Rick Remender, artist André Araújo, and colorist Chris O’Halloran. The series will kick off this October.

When an unassuming man stumbles upon a dark-web contract assassin’s vicious plot to kill an innocent target, he turns himself into one. The Professional meets Road to Perdition in this story of a family’s unlikely guardian being hunted by rich and powerful men who are used to getting away with everything.

A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance #1 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, October 6:  

  • Cover A by Araújo & O’Halloran – Diamond Code AUG210041
  • Cover B by Bengal – Diamond Code JUL219439
  • Cover C by Dalrymple – Diamond Code JUL219440
  • Cover D 1:10 copy incentive by Greene – Diamond Code JUL219441
  • Cover E 1:25 copy incentive by Lotay – Diamond Code AUG210042
  • Cover F 1:50 copy incentive by Albuquerque – Diamond Code JUL219442

Review: Time Before Time #1

Time Before Time #1

There are some fantastic stories about time travel out there. It feels like it’s rare to get one that really sticks out as original. Time Before Time #1 is one of those original concepts. The future seems to be complete shit. Individuals pay a group called the Syndicate to take them back in time to a better life. But, with stories involving the mob you know things are going to go sideways and expectedly they do.

Declan Shalvey and Rory McConville deliver a hell of a start with Time Before Time #1. The series is great at the small details that really make it stand out. The concept of the series alone makes it interesting but it’s those details that make it fantastic. It’s hard to list them all but the various characters that are taken back each present interesting perspectives that give you a better sense of what’s happening. It also delivers a better sense at how morally abhorrent it can be due to those that take advantage of the time travel.

Then, there’s some of the consequences of it all. The concept is that of smuggling through time travel and that can have a lot of hurdles to deal with. Some of those are presented and what is shown really feels creative and something new.

All of this is helped by the art of Joe Palmer. Palmer is joined by Chris O’Halloran on color and lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. There’s a solid use of visuals to tell you a lot about the time period. Small details really add to the experience and storytelling, often being the key to really picking up on the issues of the time period. The technology looks a bit worn and used, a key plot point. It’s an example of “show” instead of “tell” and helps boost the issue when it comes up through the comic. There’s also a bit of a “comedic style” to it all. It keeps the debut issue from being a bit too serious and feels like it understands the concept overall has a bit of comedy to it. It’s ok to laugh.

Time Before Time #1 is a hell of a debut with a lot of detail helping to really make the story. There’s a solid concept here and the ending has me guessing as to where this is all going. Since it involves time travel, I have no idea where that might be. This is one to absolutely get so you can sit back and enjoy.

Story: Declan Shalvey, Rory McConville Art: Joe Palmer
Color: Chris O’Halloran Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Scarenthood #4 (of 4)

Scarenthood #4 (of 4)

(W) Nick Roche (A/CA) Nick Roche
In Shops: Feb 10, 2021
SRP: $4.99

The Big Boy has tipped ALL the toys out, and the Grown-Ups don’t know how to clean them up.

There are revelations about Flynno’s brother, the ‘Mother Of One’, and Father Sinnott; can they be connected? And it’s a race against time for Cormac to catch Scooper’s School Play–but stage-fright is the least of her problems….

Nick Roche (Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Transformers Wreckers Saga) and Chris O’ Halloran (Ice Cream Man, Folklords) tidy away most of the mess in this final issue.

Scarenthood #4 (of 4)

Review: Scarenthood #4

Scarenthood #4

Scarenthood has been a fun read from the start. It takes the “ghost hunting” genre and delivers a spin. Instead of younger individuals figuring things out, the comic has focused on a group of parents brought together because their children go to the same school. Scarenthood is a horror story for daycare crowd. Scarenthood #4 wraps up the first story arc of the series and has me wanting more.

With a daughter not too much younger than the kids in the comic, the series by Nick Roche is very relatable to me. Roche not only delivers creep chills but breaks them up with those small moments that make parenting interesting and very fun at times.

Scarenthood #4 has the group confronting the ghost/demon that has been plaguing them and hints at some of the bigger themes of the comic. The haunting is tied to the lack of attention being given by the parents and there’s some solid commentary about our busy lives that have divided our parenting attention. It definitely hit me a bit reading that and then reflecting on the time spent with my daughter and wondering if it’s enough to prevent demonic interference. But that reflection is a small piece of this comic.

Scarenthood #4 ends the first “book” of the series and opens up a greater world. The series has hinted at greater forces at work and this is the issue that really begins to explore that. A simple horror/ghost story is something so much more now and where this all goes should be very interesting.

Roche’s art continues to be solid. Chris O’Halloran provides color and Shawn Lee does the lettering. The comic never quite goes full horror which might be a distraction from the attempt “ground” the series in some ways. While it deals with the supernatural, the comic also focuses on parenting and a more hardcore horror style would distract from that. As is, the comic delivers a nice balance of creep. It doesn’t go for scares, it’s more focused on building tension and unease. It succeeds in that and then some as the comic progresses.

Scarenthood #4 is a solid end to the first arc and a hell of a setup for where things go from here. Its world has expanded from a compact horror comic to something much greater. Where our group of parents fits into that should be fascinating and it’s a world I want to see more of. The team has done an excellent job of balancing the every day life and the fantastical and combination has created a comic that truly stands out.

Story: Nick Roche Art: Nick Roche
Color: Chris O’Halloran Letterer: Shawn Lee
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Review: Scarenthood #3

Scarenthood #3

Scarenthood has delivered a bit of a twist on the horror ghost gang concept. Instead of kids or young adults, it’s parents attempting to solve the mystery. The first two issues have upped the tension and creepy factor teasing the horror that’s just on the edge. There’s been a solid build-up and teasing of things. Scarenthood #3 twists all of that, questioning everything from the first two issues.

Writer Nick Roche, who also handles art, delivers another fantastic issue. For much of it, I was questioning what was real. Was it possible everything up to this point was a person’s mental breakdown? We thankfully get that answered within the issue. I’m not sure I could stand that dragging out much longer as I wanted to know the answer! It’s a great issue in that it had me second-guessing myself and what I thought to be “true” in the comic.

Roche delivers a lot of emotion in the issue as well. There’s a concern for Cormac and his daughter. As a father myself much of what is written is something I think about. I want to make sure I care for my daughter and that she’s healthy, happy, and safe. But at the same time, there’s a balance and that balance can easily be tipped too far one way or another. That’s what’s addressed here as Cormac’s obsession with the supernatural and its impact on his life is clear.

The issue also approaches this all in a smart way. It does a cold open in a way and I was left wondering if I’d had missed something. It focuses on the rest of the gang and their concern for Cormac and what they’ve witnessed. The approach is part of what threw me for a loop and kept me wondering what exactly was going on. Is Cormac losing his mind? Is his daughter in danger? What happened to his wife? Is this all in his head?

Roche handles art duties as well. He’s joined by Chris O’Halloran on color and Shawn Lee handles lettering. The art has a slight cartoonish quality about it all. But, even with that style, it focuses on the emotion. We can see the concern in Cormac’s friends. We can see their anger as well. Cormac himself delivers a spectrum of responses as he delivers his reality to his friends. It adds to the emotional punch of it all. It also helped keep me guessing as to what the truth of it all was.

Scarenthood #3 is a fantastic issue. For those reading the series, it’ll keep you guessing as to what the reality is. Is this all in Cormac’s head? Is this one person’s mental breakdown? Thankfully, the team delivers an answer because I’m not sure I could stand another month to find out. For those that like horror stories with a slight twist, this is one to definitely check out.

Story: Nick Roche Art: Nick Roche
Color: Chris O’Halloran Letterer: Shawn Lee
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Review: Scarenthood #2

Scarenthood #2

Is it weird that after reading the first two issues of Scarenthood I wish I had a group of ghost hunting friends? Scarenthood #2 continues the Irish ghost/horror series as the pressure of balancing the hunt and their duties as parents clash.

As a parent of a two-year-old, writer and artist Nick Roche captures so much of the life. There’s the silly conversations. There’s the difficulty of life and work balance. There are just so many small details that I appreciate as a parent.

But, what Roche does even better is the build up of the mystery. After the first issue’s “wtf” moments, Scarenthood #2 dials things back a little using subtly creepy aspects to build the tension and weirdness. There’s lost time and the build up of dread. The way it’s all presented it creates a tension that is felt off the page. This is a horror story where I have no idea what will happen.

Scarenthood #2 takes some solid queues from past horror stories where it’s not about jump out scares but the build-up. Films like the Blair Witch Project come to mind where the visuals and especially sound delivered the scares. Here, it’s walking down a tree-lined path where you, like the characters, have no idea what’s going to happen. That creates a tense situation for both. Roche, like horror masters, is controlling that tension and doing it really well.

Roche is helped by colorist Chris O’Halloran and letterer Shawn Lee. There’s some really smart decisions for both to help build the atmosphere that Roche is going for. Colors are on the drab side of things but not in a dark sort of way. There’s lots of browns and greens with a subtle use of dark colors to shift the situation. It’s really something to pay attention to and helps command the vibe of the comic. Lee’s lettering too packs a lot into panels as the parents deliver smartass comments back and forth and every so often deliver that needed exclamation point.

Scarenthood #2 is a solid horror/mystery series but from a perspective you don’t see a ton of. This isn’t some professional group or teens being stalked. This is a story of misfit parents attempting to solve a mystery like Gen-X Scooby-Doo. It delivers characters I, as a parent, can relate to and a story whose attention to detail creates a fantastic experience.

Story: Nick Roche Art: Nick Roche
Color: Chris O’Halloran Letterer: Shawn Lee
Story: 8.35 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.35 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

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