We can, and have, all make mistakes at work, right? And, often those mistakes can have consequences. Big consequences. But, not as big as lab assistant Sean Bennett, who’s the titular character from John Layman’s latest comic book, The Man Who F#&%ed Up Time from AfterShock Comics.
Thrown right into the middle of the action and a world which we cannot recognise – made up of a patchwork of various species, artefact and architect from all across time – we soon learn that Bennett is an underachiever who’s also very down in the pecking order when it comes to office politics and where people stand. As a lab assistant, you can image where Bennett’s place is. And , if he didn’t know, he has the aggressive Doctor Cooke on hand to remind him. What’s hurts even more is that he was once Sean’s college roommate, but coming from a privileged background meant he never needed to worry for anything. Unlike Sean Bennett.
I never had Layman down as a social commentator, but there you are. Seems the ridiculous cost of further education can really make the difference between academic success and failure. I’ve always found it strange that as a developed society we penalise people for wanting to better themselves through wanting to be better educated. Looks like I’m not the only one with a bee in his bonnet about this issue. A problem that isn’t going away any time soon, either.
But, back to the comic.
Meeting a hooded stranger in a bar, and after being chewed out by Doctor Cooke, seems Sean Bennett is more than ready to hear this person’s story, especially when he finds out who he is, and where he’s come from!
Needless to say, and revealed in the very title of this book, Sean decided to travel back in time (but just a week)only to find that… well, he’s really, really ‘effed’ up time and returns to a remixed world of all eras. Where his troubles are only about to start.
Not only does Layman set up this series well, but he deftly introduces us to all the main players and establishes the dynamics between them all. I dare say some of the background details we see in this first issue will become highly important in future issues with some imagery brought to the forefront more than others; particularly Abraham Lincoln, or ‘King Abe’ as he seems to be known as in this broken timeline.
As for Karl Mostert; what a talent. I’m not familiar with his work, but I would definitely recommend looking out for more of his work as it reminded me very strongly of Frank Quietly, especially in when illustrating people and their varied emotions and reactions. His attention to the layout of each page also reminded me about Quietly too. And, a more mature art style than Layman usually goes for. But then, while this is most definitely a book by Layman – high concept action, but delivered with humour and a knowing nod to the reader – it’s not as laugh out loud as Chew, but more in the storytelling style of Outer Darkness.
By the end of the book, we are still as much in the dark as Sean Bennett. But then, isn’t the fun of discovering a new world in the exploring of it? Although, I’m not too sure Sean Bennett is up to it. I mean, he couldn’t be trusted with time, so why would we trust him to get out of this mess in one piece?
The Man Who F#&%ed Up Time #1 will be out on February 5th from AfterShock Comic