Advance Review: Returning To Simpler Storytelling In `Time Before Time’ #16

by Tom Smithyman


After some convoluted time skipping in previous arcs, the series has simplified its storytelling technique, which is helping to keep readers more engaged in the tale. Throw in a funny robot sidekick and you have the makings of a pretty enjoyable read.


Confusing a reader is a common storytelling technique. Multiple plot lines and characters with mysterious pasts that are slowly revealed are often used to tell a layered story and to divert the audience’s attention, so readers won’t guess an outcome.

The first arc or two of Time Before Time used time travel and characters in different years to confuse readers to the point where many likely gave up trying to figure out what was going on. Fortunately, the creative team seemed to have learned from its mistake and has now focused on simpler, more straightforward narratives. And it’s paying off for the audience.

In this current story arc, written by Rory McConville and Declan Shalvey, time travelers Nadia Wells and Tatsuo Edwards have journeyed to 3987 in search of Wells’ family. Edwards continues to seek a cure for his radiation poisoning thanks to a poorly shielded time pod. They seek help from the mysterious Arcola Institute, but – as is usually the case – the pair finds more than they bargained for. Meanwhile, they are unknowingly being chased by a bounty hunter from the future…er, the past.

As if often the case in these stories, it’s the sidekick – in this case, Kevin the robot – who provides the comic relief. Kevin is a fowl-mouth bot with a bad attitude but has been a loyal companion to Wells and Edwards. The fact that he curses like a sailor and wears a futuristic track suit make him all the more loveable.

Eric Zawadski provides the dynamic artwork for this arc, alongside a lot of pastel colors provided by Chris O’Halloran. (Apparently in the far-flung future, humanity prefers softer colors.)

With only one more issue left in this arc, the creative team will need to tie up loose ends quickly. As long as they keep the story simplified and don’t mess with Kevin, they should be in good shape.

Time Before Time #16 will be available for purchase next Wednesday, September 7, 2022.

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