by Mark Millar, Sean Murphy, and Matt Hollingsworth
The name ‘Mark Millar’ has developed an association with a type of story telling. The simplest way to describe a story by Millar is bold. From Ultimates to Kick-Ass and most recently, Starlight, Millar tells stories that aim high and move fast. Chrononauts comes out of the gate as strong and as exciting as any story he has presented to readers before. Not only does the book make an impact in a big way, but it drops in a number of hints as to where the story may go. Add in incredible art, and this first issue shines.
From the opening cover, and especially in the first page, Chrononauts is absolutely beautiful. The combination of pencils by Sean Murphy and coloring by Matt Hollingsworth create a textured new world that evokes a range of reactions and emotions. Hollingsworth’s color pallet is astonishing, creating a look that feels rough, tactile and even aged. The landscape that brings readers into the new universe is not far from familiar, though Millar gives no indication of the exact year. Readers are introduced to Dr. Corbin Quinn, who has been invited to Turkey to look at an artifact discovered amongst ancient ruins that has no reason for being there. Millar is magnificent when it comes to understanding pacing and the effectiveness of delaying beyond a page turn. As the opening sequence develops, readers will become further and further intrigued and anxious for what might await them. And the reveal, that is simply the start of where issue one is going.
Chrononauts implies in its title the possibility for temporal exploration. Right away, Millar crafts a story in such a way that it feels brand new. There is some underlying intrigue that he elicits in how the story is initially conveyed. The opening sequence does enough to hook even the most skeptical. Beyond that, it is all execution. Chrononauts #1 almost feels like an enlarged issue simply because of how much ground it covers, though never coming close to overstaying its welcome. As the story settles in to explaining a bit about who the leads are and just what may be occurring, readers are treated to spectacular art from Murphy and Hollingsworth. From the magnificent reveals captured on page, to the construction of the elements of this new universe, the art team does an incredible job. Murphy’s designs for this technology, including the suits and satellites, are never too beyond what readers might recognize. Murphy takes license with his creations, certainly, but they feel natural and connected to technology of today. It keeps the book from ever feeling hyperbolic or designs appearing too silly. This may be a time travel tale, but everything on the page appears possible and relatable.
Once readers meet Danny Reilly, the book really gains a personality. While the first half is full of style and intrigue, Reilly brings an energy that rockets the final segment of the story forward. Though the general trajectory of this opening might be transparent early, the final few pages are certainly a nice bit of excitement. The story does not quite proceed as expected, and the place Millar brings readers before the close sets up a fantastic first arc. It will certainly be exciting to see just how much story Millar has for this universe, but after just one issue, there appears to be a limitless number of places to go.