Time, Time, Time -- See What's Become of Me
- Chronos strikes with art by a Legend!
- By Roger Stern, John Byrne & K.S. Wilson!
- From DC Comics's Winter 1988 cover-dated Power of the Atom #6!
Speaking of leaving titles abruptly with ill will, it isn't hard to read between the lines in an interview that remaining creative team gave to Amazing Heroes magazine. Editor Mike Carlin subtweeted that Dwayne Turner's replacement was "good, reliable, and cares about the job he's doing," implying that he hadn't. The new guy, Graham Nolan, was far less diplomatic. The transcript reads, "the stories were fun, but the artwork was really [makes rude noise] atrocious." I've judged Turner harshly on this podcast, but the truth is that he got a lot better after this first assignment, and whatever his failings, I think bagging on him in print is deeply unprofessional. Nolan also dismisses the value of his Kubert School education, seems to pointedly emphasize his preference of John Romita Sr. over his son's work, rips on the Carlin-edited Doc Savage book, and generally comes off as a jerk. I mean, we all know John Byrne is one of the biggest jerks in comics, but he's John Byrne. Graham Nolan doesn't get to swagger like this just because he got lucky enough to design a para-militaristic luchador for a well-publicized stunt that's netted him royalties ever since. I've bought comics because of Dwayne Turner and dropped them because of Graham Nolan. Dwayne Turner went on to work on a-list films, while Nolan just gets a contractually obligated thanks in the fine print of the ones with Bane in them.
Ray Palmer was enjoying a day out with Normal Brawler at the Ivytown Festival without getting swarmed by press, even though he had an entire C.I.A. detail following him unnoticed. Regardless, Ray got snatched in broad daylight out from under his noticed by men working for Chronos. Kept under sedation, Chronos seeks revenge by trying to emotionally break the Atom by forcing him to relive his most traumatic moments while in a dream state. They start with the rainy night he catches Jean Loring stepping out on him, then move to his childhood dog getting run over, his father's death by cancer while in his teens, the mission against Mr. Memory that saw him join the Justice League of America, his solo run-in with Dr. Light, his initial battle with Chronos, the destruction of New Morlaidh, and they even put a pin in his mother's death. Meanwhile, Chronos also recalls his early encounters with the Mighty Mite, and then a recent confrontation with Blue Beetle that left him stranded in the age of the dinosaurs. In an admittedly impressive move, Chronos cobbles together enough technology to put himself in intermittent stasis, roused at various points in history by equipment failures. Imagine all the untold stories of Rip Van Clinton scavenging for replacement parts in various ages. Never forget that Chronos looks like Richard Nixon but is named David Clinton. It's like that meme connecting Lincoln and Kennedy, except nowhere near as intricate or interesting. I apologize for bringing it up.
Ray Palmer's strong connection to Princess Laethwen and general lust for life break him out of his conditioning long enough for the Atom to shrink and extricate himself from the device manipulating him. The Tiny Titan then jumps around clobbering the fuchsia fascists working under Chronos in his sprawling headquarters. See, Chronos's stasis finally petered out seven years in the past, so he Biff Tannened himself a fortune on the speculative markets. Why he didn't shoot graduate student Ray Palmer in the head I'll chalk up to temporal paradox, but his not doing it while Ray was sleeping today is pure Dr. Evil nonsense. Anyway, Chronos had been called away from giving his archenemey...sad dreams... to hear about how Australia was being pummeled in an assault by an extraterrestrial alien alliance. Despite being at Rog 2000 drawing levels at best, Byrne's layouts and the traces of his style are just so much more dynamic and pleasing than the previous issues that it's enough for me to overlook how this issue does literally everything that I've been griping about on the story front. Kind of how Atom has to overlook being jerked around by Chronos so that they can team up to fend off the Invasion!
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