Cosmic Force is a comic series by Allen Carter about a group of superheroes who got caught in a meteor shower in Hawaii and now have superpowers. The Before Times is a series of Cosmic Force prequel comics which tell the origin stories of each of the characters. If you haven’t read the series, this might not be the best place to start – which is not to say it’s not still an entertaining story.
Rather than focusing on the characters’ powers, or their super exploits, The Before Times instead chronicles the lives they had leading up to that. There are five chapters, each focusing on a different member of the Cosmic Force. Each chapter tells a story about who that character used to be and cuts off the day before the fateful meteor shower.
“Just Imagine” tells the story of Sandra-Anne Winters, a young girl with a dream of singing, despite her parents’ assertions that she’s wasting her time. “The Man with a Short Fuse” shows us Daniel Stafford, a workaholic lawyer who can’t seem to let himself relax. “Doom and Gloom” portrays Bryan Snarski, a young rich kid abandoned by his parents.
“Act Your Age” introduces us to Kevin Simons, trying to move on, along with his father, after the loss of Kevin’s mother. Finally, “It’s a Hologram” is about Brandon Quitog, a teenager forced to grow up early and help support his family, who misses being able to do normal teenager things. Each of these characters will go on to become a powerful hero. For now, though, they’re just ordinary people with ordinary problems, struggling to get through life.
The comic works as a sort of send-up of traditional superhero origin stories. The stories are played melodramatically, but they have a bit of tongue-in-cheek silliness behind them. There’s an ever-present narrator throughout all five chapters, which in my head, I read in the voice of Gary Owens. Don LaFontaine works, too.
I admittedly haven’t read the rest of the Cosmic Force series, but now I want to. Now that I know who these heroes were in The Before Times, I’d love to see them in action. I’d recommend that you start with the original comics, too, before moving on to the prequels. Whatever order you decide to read them in, though, there’s plenty of enjoyment to be had in Cosmic Force.
Creative Team: Allen Carter (writer/illustrator)
Publisher: Carter Comics
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