Writers: Rory McConille & Declan Shalvey
Artist: Jorge Coelho
Colourist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

People often talk about page turners. Well Time Before Time has always been something of a page turner for me. That’s especially true this issue. The tension! The action! The politics! The ending! There is so much in this I dare anyone to try and put it down for more than a minute. Things this issue did not let up and goodness. What I love is that amongst the tension and action there’s still decent character moments and little bits of world building.

There are two strands to this. The first is Sebastian and Tatsuo (yes, you read that right he is back) and the second is Nadia and Kevin. In that sense it reminds me of earlier issues where we’ve had both characters on separate paths. Much as I love to see them together it’s also interesting when they are apart. Here they are separated by many centuries and of course Nadia has no idea that Tatsuo isn’t dead. Nor did we until the end of the last issue.

It’s great to see Tatsuo back, although he’s still got the rad sickness he’s okay for now, but his days are still more numbered than they were before. Surprisingly I was also glad to see Sebastian back. He’s been a good protagonist and not without sympathy. We’ve not seen him interact with his quarry yet but here he is talking with Tatsuo. Actually seeing them talk is an unexpected pleasure of this issue. Their interactions are layered with things that we as long time readers know but which of course they are totally unaware. Which is very rewarding to read.

The other strand also rewards long time readers. In the distant past Kevin has been revealed and in a city full of people who went there to escape the robot induced apocalypse, so needless to say this is not good. He and Nadia must make a quick get away, not helped by Jettie, Nadia’s very anti-robot younger sister. The mixing of the family drama and the sudden reveal of Kevin really pays off the last couple of issues. For a time Nadia has struggled to connect with her family whilst maintaining her close relationship with Kevin, in a way chosen family. Here those two things combine in a very explosive way.

There is plenty of action this issue and my favourite sequence is the chase scene with Nadia, Kevin and their pursuers. Futuristic hoverbikes, the speed and the tension of them trying to avoid capture. You get such a strong sense of the speed of the movement, it really feels dynamic and exciting. Added to that is the lettering of the voice of the news which details lies about Kevin and their escape. It’s good art, writing and lettering all working together to make a solid and interesting sequence.

It’s not the only one either as we get some really interesting action as Sebastian has to fight off some rivals who want to take Tatsuo and claim the reward. Sebastian fights them off wth his usual style. You forget how dangerous he really can be. The onomatopoeia really plays well as we see Sebastian shooting his way out. The action there is a nice contrast to the earlier quieter moments of the two talking and reluctantly start to understand each other.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of everything that happens this issue. Nadia’s mother faces issues as it’s revealed that Nadia has been hanging out with a robot expanding the politics of the world. Then there’s that ending as another character, completely unexpected, is reintroduced. Bit of a cliffhanger. There is such good work on display throughout this issue which is a real page turner as I’ve said. Time Before Time readers will definitely appreciate this one.

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