Writers: Declan Shalvey & Rory McConville
Artist: Joe Palmer
Colourist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Ehaou
What I love about Time Before Time is the way the world building goes hand in hand with character insight. We learn more about the character’s past and more about the world they live in. It’s really a plot win win. As a reader you’ll have a good time with everything going on in this issue.
When last we left Tatsuo and Nadia they had been captured by the Union, the arch enemies of the Syndicate. Needless to say they were in trouble. However, we don’t open the issue with that instead we open with a glimpse into Tatsuo’s past, an old job that underlines how The Syndicate treat what they do as a business and are just as ruthless as any business would be, not really caring about the people they transport as long as they can pay. We can also see that Tatsuo never really suited the Syndicate way of doing things.
What I love is that this insight into Tatsuo’s past does two things. It not only shows us how uncomfortable Tatsuo was whilst working for the Syndicate (and having little choice) but it also intersects with Nadia’s explanation of why she was stealing the time travel pod back in issue one. There’s an uncomfortable sort of connection between their pasts. It’s a great character stuff which also advances the plot.
What is also advancing is the relationship between Nadia and Tatsuo. Thrown together to survive they have moments where they appear to start to trust each other (although that glimpse into their pasts might add some interesting tension later when the truth comes out). Nadia, realising that her actions are what led them to this point begins to confide a little bit in Tatsuo. What is especially great is the way the art shows this developing relationship. There are some nice looks that pass between them that say more than words.
There are several great art moments. The character expressions are on point throughout, and not just fir Nadia and Tatsuo. The Union members also have a lot of character from leader Kareena to Roselyn tasked by Kareena to check out Nadia and Tatsuo’s story. The eyes in particular are very expressive. The world is still very consistent n the art. The world of 2093 still has that not far in the future vibe. I also enjoy the simplicity of some of the backgrounds, just plain colours allowing the character’s expressions and speech to really stand out.
Another thing that stands out is the twists and turns. I don’t want to say too much about the plot as it is worth letting it unfold in front of you. Let’s just say there’s more to some people than meets the eye, an interesting car crash and the ever present threat of the Syndicate.
Not to say everything is doom and gloom there’s still some nice bits of humour laced throughout, particularly in the last part of the book which nicely combine danger with humour. The lettering really helps with this with emphasis on the words that really gives it its tone
With all the great character work and a mix of plot, danger and humour there’s more to this book than just time travel. A very successful third issue.