Review by Stephen Schleicher
NAZIS. WHY’D IT HAVE TO BE NAZIS?
In 2012, the New World Order is called in to investigate a sink hole in Berlin, Germany. The team discovers a Nazi bunker and small city that has been buried since the closing days of World War II. It gets stranger as the team discovers a missile silo, where they accidentally trigger the launch of an Omega bomb that explodes over Berlin. Turns out the Nazis developed the virus of all virii that they planned on launching to destroy all humans on the surface, while 1,000 of the hand picked Reich waited out the devastation below ground. The Nazis are long gone, but the virus still lives and begins killing people left and right,very similar to the way the world crumbled in Stephen King’s The Last Stand.
The New World Order estimates that it will take 72 hours for the plague virus to wipe out every man, woman, and child on the planet, and their only chance to save the human race is to send a team of four highly trained experts back in time to stop the bomb from going off. It’s all highly experimental, and prone to going all wrong, but it is the only hope to save everyone.
I’ve become a fan of Palmiotti and Gray over the last two years, and they do an excellent job of developing a story that is set in a world where their rules make sense, and the characters work in that environment. A bulk of this issue is filled with information on how time travel works, and there is some character development as readers are introduced to the four main characters, giving us hints of what makes them tick and how they interact with one another. We don’t learn everything about their pasts, and at least one of the team members could be the loose canon if things get too intense – which it does.
Instead of sending the team (three men, one woman) back a few days to warn the NWO officials of the threat, the time bomb flings the group back to height of Nazi rule, right outside a concentration camp. The team is fully equipped with modern weapons, and while it looks like they aren’t going to be returning to their present anytime soon, they take it upon themselves to liberate the prisoners – timeline be damned. It’s certainly something that will catch a reader by surprise if they hadn’t read the solicitations, and it is a nice twist to what should be a straightforward mission.
Even in this first issue (#1 of 3) there is a fair amount of blood and violence as people’s bodies decompose and melt due to the virus. There are also some sexy moments between one of the team members and his soon to be dead lady of the evening. It’s not too much to rate a Mature only rating, but the art does tease and hint at the sexy and the horrifying throughout.
As far as the character drawing goes, everything looks fine overall, but there are few times where necks are too elongated and three-quarter profile faces are slightly askew. Other than that, the composition and page layout is fine. There are a couple of things that do bother me during the destruction of Berlin. When the buildings collapse, they fall through the ground as solid blocks and there is no indication that they are crumbling. The other relates to a few perspective errors when looking at rooms from vantage points higher than the height of the average human.
BOTTOM LINE: WORTH IT
If this story had been picked up by DC, it could easily have been a way to relaunch Challengers of the Unknown into the spotlight. For Radical Publishing, this a great title and one that is worth picking up if you like impossible missions, time travel, and a group of heroes fighting Nazis. It’s a little slow to start, but once it gets going, it moves. As a three-issue mini-series, you aren’t going to out a lot of time, effort, or money, and I’m giving Time Bomb #1 4 out of 5 Stars.