Publisher: Image
Writers: Declan Shalvey & Rory McConville
Artist: Lauren Knight
Colourist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

What’s great about Time Before Time is that the world is by now so rich that we can jump around and get insights into other characters and situations. Following the huge emotional events of last issue we leave Tatsuo and Nadia and revisit a plot thread from many issues ago only this time we get an entirely new take on it. It’s so interesting to see characters who died some time ago returning in some manner and the context around the events we’ve already seen being just that bit skewed.

Do you remember Roselyn/Madeleine? She was the Syndicate operative undercover embedded deep within the Union. Her spying caused some serious issues before her untimely death. She wasn’t an especially likeable character because of her actions toward our heroes, her death was shocking but not terribly upsetting. Her death also encouraged a Union revenge mission and we get to see the fallout of that too as the truth about her mission becomes clear to those who trusted her, loved her.

There are flashbacks of course as we slip back just a few years here and there. Union leader Kareena it is revealed was Madeleine’s lover, and had been for some time. Everyone knew, it was obvious but Kareena thought they’d hidden it. Much of this issue is her point of view, focusing on her loss and her relationship with Rosalyn or whom she thought was Rosalyn. There’s a lot Kareena is dealing with, and a very strong emotional thread.

Also time to mention that we have another new artist this issue as Lauren Knight takes over Artist duties. The ever reliable Chris O’Halloran is still on colouring which again helps with the continuity art wise. It’s a testament to O’Halloran I feel that the art continuity is as strong as it is with all the different artists who have been involved and shows how important colourists are to the process.

Lauren Knight’s art though is really good. Like other artists who have taken on Time Before Time she follows the fine tradition of not replicating the previous art style but doing her own thing whilst keeping the art similar enough to previous artists that it doesn’t feel jarring. This reads really rather smoothly art wise. The characters are recognisable as the ones we’ve seen before, really important when you are flashing back to scenes we’ve already seen.

There are also scenes and panels here that depict intimacy, as expected in flashbacks covering a romantic and sexual relationship. The art is never voyeuristic, choosing to sprinkle just an odd panel here and there really. That aspect of their relationship is framed as just another facet to their lives. The way the art makes it slot in there is what makes it seem more real. Scenes where they are naked and talking are framed with the emphasis on the talking. It’s very successful.

Oh and the lettering remains excellent.

It’s been great to have something that readers can recall from previous issues brought back and fleshed out. There are developments in the world going on beyond just Nadia and Tatsuo. Much as it’s great following our main characters it’s also satisfying to see other times, places and characters. It fleshes out the universe and gives more weight to the events we’ve already seen. That’s what makes Time Before Time so good and why you should be reading it.

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