Review-The Man who Effed up Time
Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: John Layman
Art: Karl Mostert
Coloring: Dan Cunniffe
Lettering: John Layman
Regular Cover/Back Art: Karl Mostert w/ Dee Cunniffe
Release Dates: 5/02/2020
Have you ever had a moment you wish you could change; a bad first date, a terrible kiss, your ex-roommate stealing your research and your girlfriend? Well, if any of the afford mentioned situations apply to you, ‘The Man who Effed up Time’ is the comic for you.
In the ‘Man Who Effed Up Time’ the reader is introduced to lab assistant Sean Bennett, a normal guy with normal mistakes like everyone else. However, unlike most people Sean has a job at a lab where a prototype time machine is being developed. So, after a terrible day at work, and some encouragement from a friendly face, Sean gives into his temptations leading to grave consequences on the time stream from what he thinks are meaningless actions.
Look when picking up ‘The Man who Effed Up Time’ I had no idea what to expect and to be honest from the first issue it’s pretty self-explanatory. This isn’t a bad thing however as right from the outset the plot hooked me. From the first panel the story leaps into the action immediately, with the first few pages showing the results of Sean’s meddling with the timeline. The non-linear story telling of the entire book really helps convey the chaotic nature of the plot, as the story flashes back walking us through the twist and turns that led to the scene that is splashed across the first page.
The first 3 issues of the book follow a fast and tight paced story which combined with time travel elements creates an entertaining and thrilling plot, that then thickens with a twist into a ‘whodunnit’ style murder mystery. The best written parts of the book are the ones that concern the ‘wibbly wobbly’ nature of time travel, Layman establishes the rules for his version of time travel from pretty much the first page giving the reader a clear idea of the ‘butterfly effect’ (the idea of changing one thing in the past having repercussions on the present) and how it works. The craziness of the time travel mishmash is where the writing has its strength presenting interesting scenarios that arise out of the chaos that Sean creates when he tries to fix the timeline.
Personally, for me the final two issues of the series are where it falls flat as although the heel turn from a frazzled time travel story into a whodunnit is executed well at first each twist that comes subsequently feels overplayed and slightly cliché.
Although the strong plot concept fails to deliver on its promise, one thing Layman is great at is writing characters. Sean Bennett is incredibly relatable as a character, from the outset he’s just a regular guy who has his flaws like everyone else, making him an appealing surrogate for the reader.
John Layman does a great job of giving him a fully formed charming and witty personality that makes him incredibly likeable. The use of captions boxes throughout the book are a great touch narratively, having future Sean narrate the events from a position of omniscience at some point in the future does a great job at keeping the story at pace.
From Sean’s bosses at the lab to the time police who pursue him, each side character is written in a way that means you know exactly who you’re dealing with within a single panel, they all have distinct personalities that get across who they are immediately. Which is great in helping build the world of the book.
Karl Mostert’s art is great in capturing the topsy-turvey nature of the weird alternative timeline that appears in issue one. Not wanting to get into spoiler territory, the mishmash of a bunch of time periods combined onto one page such as Cowboys, Castles and many people adorned in top hats, really sets the scene of how crazy everything is. Mostert’s characters are all well drawn especially their facial expressions that convey a certain nuisance which gets across exactly how they’re feeling at any given moment.
As a Colourist Dan Cunniffe’s, colour choice adds to Mostert’s drawings with a bright eye-popping pallet, which intensifies the otherworldly nature of Sean Bennett’s situation.
Overall, ‘The Man Who Effed up Time’ pleasantly surprised me with its fast paced and chaotic first few issues. However, it is due to this strong start that makes the final part of the story so disappointing. The books strength lies with its fun characters, great art, and eye-popping colouring but lacks a story that really propels it forward. Although the story starts out as an interesting time travel story, ultimately the twist into a whodunnit style murder mystery leaves the plot lacking overall.
Honestly, I think that the book is still worth a read, if you want a short 5 issue story that’s wrapped up in a neat bow by the end. It may be frantic and could give you a headache with it’s time travel shenanigans, but ‘The Man who Effed up Time’ provides an interesting spin of the age-old issue ‘What would you do If you had a time machine?’
If you enjoyed our Review of The Man who Effed up Time then leave a comment below or leave your own rating if you’ve read it already.
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