The future continues to clash with the present in “Past Aways” #3. Writer Matt Kindt, artist Scott Kolins, and colorist Bill Crabtree craft an adventure involving a group of time traveling explorers that are stuck in our time. Mysteries and shenanigans ensue.
Written by Matt Kindt
Illustrated by Scott Kolins
As the PastAways grapple with the mystery of a gargantuan robot from beyond time, a shocking revelation threatens to fracture the group!
* The first arc comes to a thrilling conclusion!
* Every issue contains bonus backup material!
In “Past Aways” #3, Matt Kindt smoothly and seamlessly weaves the past and present of his cast of superhero-like adventurers. His inventive and singular style of storytelling is utilized to great effect in this issue, where the past informs the present. Kindt has been only giving us certain tidbits about each character, their plight, and their destiny as a group and here he gives us even more character development. Without explaining or dumping exposition, he has one scene set in the past segue into the present action-packed predicament the group finds themselves. The interactions between these characters in the past informs the relationship dynamics between each individual and the entire group. We don’t need explanations, which helps us become more engaged in the story and contributes a refreshing and fun interactivity.
Kindt is able to hint at each character’s identity and personality without the overabundance of exposition and superfluous information. This is probably true because he is also an artist. Kindt understands the importance of words and how they can reveal a story and each character. Also, by understanding the importance of comic books being a visual medium, Kindt allows Kolins plenty of space to be a co-storyteller with him. In “Past Aways” #3, Kindt is the perfect collaborator because he knows which direction his story is headed and it’s abundantly clear in the script. That script may be deceptively simple, but it rewards the reader with multiple readings.
Kolins, from present to flashback, imbues his art with a timeless quality. Whether it’s set in the far-flung future of the title’s band of time travelers or during their present-day adventure within a living machine, the simplicity of Kolins’ art has a visceral feel that emanates humanity and warmth. Like the story, there’s a sense of fun that can be read and understood by both seasoned and young readers. This is an adventure tale and Kolins is more than adept at conveying exciting encounters on the page. The giant, mysterious robot and its insides are inventively brought to life and never too frightening. Although the word old-fashioned is usually used in a derogatory way, it’s a perfect fit for Kolin’s art. As evidenced by this issue, excitement and peril can also be conveyed without being too horrific. There’s enough room on the racks for every kind of book and this is definitely a rare breed of a book.
Bill Crabtree’s color palette is bright while also retaining a naturalness to it that aids in bringing the story to life. There’s the same sense of fun in the coloring as there is in the story and art. The flashback with Margaret shows her world as a desolate place filled with white and colored different hues of purple. The team’s travels within the guts of a “living” machine in the present day are marvelously colored by Crabtree. A green plasma-like substance oozes and bubbles while pink brains loom over them. The purple, blue, and pink of a hallucinogenic scene is creepy yet fun. It’s like being inside the head of someone who is on an acid trip in the far-flung 1960s.
There is a lot going on in “Past Aways” #3 and, as I mentioned earlier, must be read more than once to enjoy the high level of artistry from everyone involved in the issue’s success. There are subtleties thrown in, such as the sly, humorous asides made by characters and the ways we slowly get to know them through their interactions in both words and art. Kindt, Kolins, and Crabtree are master storytellers and enhance the reading experience by never boring us. Whether it’s showing us an entry in Herbert’s “Travel Journal” or drawing the complex world within a robot, the creators cram tons of insight and fun into the issue without overwhelming us. They want the audience to have fun and they have succeeded in a magnificent way.Continued below
Final Verdict: 8.9 – There’s a lot going on in this issue. “Past Aways” #3 is full of humor, characters’ history (appropriately), and dynamic action. Some may complain about the pace of the story and the lack of a quick origin. Forget those unfounded complaints and enjoy a story that actually builds characters and a world that Kindt, Kolins, and Crabtree care deeply about. It shows in this and previous issues. The journey is only beginning and it is a rollicking one.