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‘Past Aways #5:’ Advance Comic Book Review

If you love science fiction and you’re not reading Past Aways, then you can’t say you love science fiction. Have you ever seen someone have a conversation with an intelligent staircase? You will now. That’s how this book works, on various levels. The surface level deals with science that doesn’t exist and pokes fun at science we have now and what it could become – the absurdity of it all, the beauty of it all, the fear of it all.

Matt Kindt, mastermind of Mind MGMT (which you should also be reading or going back to read as it’s almost over), lives for twisting up the minds of his readers. His heroes, anti-heroes, and victims of time displacement in Past Aways aren’t archetypes but balls of Id waiting to unleash at each other. And, he’s taking his time in getting to that so when it does happen, it’s going to be one helluva show.

In the last issue we were treated to some pretty dark revelations that painted our fearless leader Art into a pretty complex corner and gave Phil, a super advanced synthetic AI human being of some sort, whose inner workings could provide a way for the team to get home but at the expense of sacrificing his own life, a pretty reasonable reason to try and kill Art. But, the timeline is protecting them all from dying, so how can Phil kill Art? This is where things get potentially trippy for us and tricky for the characters.

Issue #5 gives us an enjoyable main storyline dealing with a giant tortoise and its hundreds of eggs which serve as a distraction to what could only be Phil’s first stages of his attempt to kill Art. It is fascinating to watch Kindt weave back and forth from story to story, and unlike Mind MGMT, he does it here with a sense of humor that drifts in and out but never takes away from the feeling that something is going to go severely wrong very soon. I love it when great writers take their time. I love it when great writers can use a storytelling device to not only make us laugh, but make us feel wonder and fear. There’s a hilarious moment in which a perfect cleaning device is overwhelmed by an unassailable mess and also a beautiful moment in which a character who understands the psychology of our minds looks through a time tear and is overwhelmed by something her own mind cannot comprehend. Both instances are commented on in little asides that have been built into the reading of the book, many times to tell us about technology we don’t understand. The one thing not commented on is that underlying feeling of being overwhelmed that all of the characters have been forced into, but are keeping wrapped up.  As that wrapping slowly comes undone, they begin to act out in ways to deal with the overwhelming odds they are up against.

What a beautiful, complex book.

Scott Kolins’ art is excellent, and Bill Crabtree’s colors are dynamic, both finding ways to intermingle the reality we know with the reality only our main characters can understand and have to contend with. They are at the top of their games. I don’t believe I’ve talked about Rob Leigh’s lettering work, but he goes above and beyond, really bringing to life the world to an extra degree. Kindt’s books allows everyone to be actively involved creatively, and it sincerely pays off on all levels.

As a side note, upon reviewing several issues of the same comic book, you begin to notice details like that this isn’t just Issue #5, but Issue #005. Why the choice in numbering? If you like to debate the details, there’s a good one for you.

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