If you read my reviews, you know by now how much I love time-travel stories. (And if you don’t read my reviews, then I’ll tell you how much I love time-travel stories: quite a lot.) Just from the description of Vicious Circle, I knew it would be a lot of fun, and, indeed, it did not disappoint. It’s pure, mind-bending, era-hopping temporal shenanigans at their finest.
As we open, we meet Shawn Thacker, a Black man living in the 1950s with his wife Elise and son Tommy. It’s not easy for them in that particular era, but segregation is on the verge of ending, so maybe, just maybe, things will get better in the future.
Except, of course, Shawn is from the future, so he knows things won’t be improving anytime soon. He also has an enemy—Ferris—and Shawn knows that unless he can defeat him, the future will, in fact, get a whole lot worse. And the battle they fight is waged across all of time.
All at once, we jump from the 1950s South to the distant future. Ferris is up to something—but what? Then, we jump again. And again. And again. For the most part, all we get are brief glimpses, but we see all different eras, both past and future. It’s a little jarring at first, but bear with it. They do explain things.
What really sets this comic apart, though, is not just the time jumps. It’s the fact that each new era that Shawn and Ferris travel to has a different art style. In the ’50s, the scene is black and white, with a highly detailed, realistic style. When we go to the future, suddenly, it’s vibrant color, with more of a fantastical, sci-fi feel—think Blade Runner. Some eras we don’t see for more than a couple of panels, but they still have their own distinct visual style. It must have been a lot of fun for illustrator Lee Bermejo.
This first issue does a great job of setting up the story and the premise and reeling in the reader. It gets a bit dark and a bit violent, so it’s probably not for all tastes, but if you like wild, era-hopping, time-travel shenanigans, then Vicious Circle is definitely the comic for you.
Creative Team: Mattson Tomlin (writer), Lee Bermejo (illustrator), Becca Carey (letterer), Sierra Hahn (editor), Michelle Ankley and Marie Krupina (designers)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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