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There’s No Time Like The Present #1-4
posted February 2, 2006
Paul B. Rainey
24 pages, Self-Published Mini-Comics, 2.50 Pounds/issue; http://www.bookoflists.co.uk/tntltp.htm
I quite enjoyed reading Paul B. Rainey's There's No Time Like The Present
, but honestly I think it's a trick of memory more than it is my considered reaction to the work, like seeing a band that covers your favorite songs but doesn't do a good job with the individual song. The serialized story is about a group of working-class friends: Cliff, an everyman/science fiction fan; his flatmate Kelly, whom Cliff seems to fancy; and their friend Barry, a big fat guy witht the outsized personality common to third characters. The only twist in their daily goings-on is that time travel has been discovered and people surf something called the Ultranet for future episodes of television shows and clues as to their eventual fates. The purely self and pedestrian way in which this staggering piece of technology gets used is the most consistely amusing thing in the series.
Beyond that, though, little impresses. The drawing is mostly thin lines, but far, far away from being evocative in the way the best practitioners of that common indy-comic look manage. The characters have a long way to go before they break out of stereotype and prove to be interesting; minor characters are sketched in so loosely as to be almost absurd. The scene work clunks along in that Rainey has yet to make effective actors out of his characters. One reaction shot he uses, of open-mouthed shock, even proves unintentionally funny. I'm also a bit skeptical that the science fiction twist isn't there to provide a thematic direction that might have been worth rearranging the more realistic elements in order to achieve. It's just overally not accomplished enough to give me the confidence that the payoffs will be worth sticking around for. So God bless Paul Rainey for creating the kind of standard fiction which used to have a bigger place in comics, but simply working in an area one would like to see explored more often isn't enough to recommend the comic in question. Although keep an eye on this one -- doing a long-form serial can make for vast improvements.