Advance Review: A Disappointing Family Reunion In `Time Before Time’ #20

by Tom Smithyman


After telling more contained stories lately, this series seems to be back with complicated tales strewn across the timeline. It makes it sometimes difficult to know who is who and what their motivations are.


It probably makes sense that a family reunion billions of years in the making wouldn’t live up to expectations. But that’s the situation facing Nadia Wells as she finally reunites with her mom and the sister she didn’t know she had nearly in nearly 4.7 billion BC.

Mom and sis escaped to the past to avoid the time war between the Union and the Syndicate. And while the past wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, mom became mayor of the futuristic city. Now Nadia is trying to find a way out, with the help of Kevin, a robot, which is forbidden by the utopian but technophobic city of Arcola.

While writers Rory McConville and Declan Shalvey have kept recent issues more straightforward, this installment is bound to confuse readers again with its complicated plot lines and unfamiliar characters strewn across the timeline. There’s Sebastian, the bounty hunter who is chasing Nadia and Kevin in the year 3988. In 2617, there’s a coup against the head of the Syndicate (have we even met him before?). And for good measure, there’s a flashback (flashforward?) to 2042 involving the mom and sister. It’s a lot to try to keep track of, and it’s why this series has been difficult to follow at times.

As the artist for this story arc, Jorge Coelho helps to maintain a consistent look of the characters who have appeared in past issues, which helps allay some of the confusion. Coelho’s drawings, ably assisted by Chris O’Halloran’s colors, set the right tone in any time period.

With so many plot points stretched across so many points in time, things are bound to come to a head sooner or later. Hopefully, when they do, the readers will understand who’s who, what happened and why.

Time Before Time #20 will be available for purchase on Wednesday.

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