Saturday, April 16, 2011

John Byrne's Next Men #5

Give writer and artist John Byrne credit for a lot of courage here - he's certainly putting the Next Men through the mill.

He's doing it in a clever story that makes optimum use of time travel. Not many writers have the knack - it's easy for time travel stories to get bogged down in their own messy nature, or to conflict with the established storyline - but here Byrne keeps it contained and sticking to the rules, all while steadily upping the danger for the time-lost team members.

So how bad is it for the team? One member is blinded (his eyes were surgically removed), one is an abused slave in the south during the Civil War, one has contracted the plague, and one is dead (eaten by a dinosaur).

However, the one behind this torture by time travel has been unmasked, and that person's motivations are slowly being revealed - but can anyone reverse the events and save the Next Men before they're wiped out?

As always, Byrne's art is terrific, with powerful layouts, great characterization and loads of detail in both the figures and the settings.

The story has put everyone in a corner, and it should be a real trick to manage a rescue (assuming such a thing is possible).

But the best sign of the success of the comic is: I can't wait for the next issue!

Grade: A


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