Advance Review – ‘Marjorie Finnegan: Temporal Criminal’ #1

by Rachel Bellwoar

Summary

There’s enough fun to be had in this issue that it doesn’t matter yet, but can Ennis and Sudžuka sustain a time travel series where the risks have been eliminated?

Overall
7/10
7/10

The premise of Marjorie Finnegan: Temporal Criminal #1 is pretty simple. Marjorie Finnegan is a temporal thief. That means instead of using time travel for something noble, Marj uses it to steal stuff. In the first issue of Garth Ennis and Goran Sudžuka’s new series, Marj sets her sights on ancient Egypt but not everything goes according to plan.

If you like your time travel stories with action, there’s plenty to be had here, but the reason Marj is able to be so violent is because Ennis has established a world where time travel doesn’t have consequences. Usually that’s the catch that keeps everyone in line – hero and villain alike. One mistake and history as you know it is over.

Without that to worry about, though, where does that leave the series? Like Jughead’s Time Police there does seem to be a group that’s trying to police these rogue time travelers. Marj doesn’t walk away with everything she wanted, either. Time travel doesn’t mean every jewel falls in her lap. It takes work and physical agility, all of which Sudžuka depicts with an eye for humor over horror. Like a Looney Tunes cartoon, where someone runs through a wall and leaves a body-shaped hole behind, Sudžuka’s specialty is bullet wounds and other bloody injuries.

Miroslav Mrva’s colors help maintain the lighthearted tone of this issue. With the time stream, especially, instead of the awe of a Doctor Who credits sequence, it’s more like the loudest color combination you could try – very “look at me” and “time travel’s wacky” versus something to be treated gingerly.

Helping Marj on the tech side of things is a character who bears a little too close a resemblance to Preacher‘s Herr Starr without the bad eye. The issue also could’ve done without some of the voiceover at the beginning. While it makes sense that Marj would explain some of the rules for how time travel works, that doesn’t come until later. Initially Marj talks about topics that are completely unrelated to what’s going on in each panel and it’s too distracting to read on top of the dialogue.

That she’s able to hold this interior monologue in her head and fight at the same time does speak to how unphased she is by bloodshed. You don’t make time for small talk, or “small narration,” if you think your life is in danger, but Sudžuka’s art and Ennis’ dialogue could carry these scenes and instead they’re constantly interrupted. Rob Steen is the letterer for this series and in one scene has to conduct a conversation between two characters whose identities remain secret.

There’s enough fun to be had in this issue that it doesn’t matter yet, but can Ennis and Sudžuka sustain a time travel series where the risks have been eliminated?

Marjorie Finnegan: Temporal Criminal #1 goes on sale Wednesday May 5th from AWA Upshot.

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