Matt Kindt’s Dark Horse title, MIND MGMT, is coming to a close soon and a lot of people are upset. I personally never read it, but I’ve been curious about picking it up one of these days when I have the time. I bring this up because Kindt is launching a new series with Dark Horse, Past Aways, with Scott Kolins on art duty.
This should be title that has a lot of people’s attention right away, especially Kindt fans, so let’s take a look. Is it good?
Past Aways #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
If you missed the Dark Horse Presents #6 issue where they had a prologue for this comic (like I did), worry not as there’s a paragraph in the beginning that recaps everything you need to know. Basically, five scientists/explorers from 1.2 million years in the future ended up being stuck in 2015, a much more “primitive” time period. They’ve been trying to adjust to life in this time, having no way to get home, when something happens that may introduce a way home… possibly.
Past Aways #1 is an okay-ish first outing. There’s nothing with the first issue that’s offensive (well depending on how you feel about one person), really wrong, or even badly written, but there’s also nothing here that really jumps out at you or comes across as all that interesting. It’s a story about a bunch of people trying to get back to their own time period, with the only twist that they are from the far distant future of Earth (they also all seem to have those personalities or beliefs that ’50s sci-fi movie aliens had where they look down on the puny humans and their society). Besides that, there’s really not much of a story here.
I’ve seen plenty of creatures piss on people. I’ve unimpressed with this “never-seen-before” thing.
The first issue basically just introduces you to the team members and gives you a rundown of what they are all like, except for one member who really doesn’t make much of an impression; this issue also provides the concept for what the comic will be about (at least for the time being). That’s pretty much it and while the setup here is fine, there’s no real exciting hook or twist to the story that’ll keep you interested in coming back. It just kind of fades out after feeling like it starts getting somewhere, making for a rather standard and average experience in terms of first issues.
Kindt’s writing is okay as well, with again, nothing that really jumps out in terms of excitement. His characterization works well at establishing the cast, although none of the Past Aways team are all that likeable or interesting, and one character may not sit well with some initially unless there is some change with her attitude; (basically, she’s constantly trying to kill herself and that’s all of her character in a nutshell). That being said, no one is poorly written. The dialogue is alright, but forgettable, and the narration is a tad overwrought at points. The pacing is alright and every scene is handled without error or any odd transitions. The only area that is problematic is the tone of the book, where it feels like it is trying to be immature and goofy (none of it is funny personally to me). However, with one main character constantly trying to kill herself in ways that aren’t exactly funny and the seriousness nature of it, these two tones do not work together at all and it really makes it difficult knowing how to feel about the comic.
By the way, the page before this has a goofy scientist sitting on a toilet butt-naked. These things totally go together.
The artwork by Scott Kolins is alright for what Kindt is trying to do with the book (at least to a certain degree). Kolins has a slightly more cartoonish and comic-booky vibe to his artwork, so the more immature and silly tone does match up well (not during the serious moments mind you). Kolins’ artwork does a decent job of making each character unique and different from one another with faces and body types, however the layouts are problematic to the book’s flow since there are a lot of abrupt and sudden cuts that make it feel like you skipped panels or pages at a time. This also makes the action look incredibly stiff and even a bit goofy at points.
Is It Good?
Past Aways #1 is, unfortunately, not as great as you may hope. It does a decent job job as a first issue, introducing the audience to the characters and premise, but it has nothing else going for it. No one is likeable or interesting, the writing is average at most, and the artwork is just okay. There are much better science fiction comics going on right now and while this book could turn around, it just doesn’t warrant your money currently. Maybe get this if you are a big fan of the writer or artist.