Advance Review: Death And Rebirth In `Time Before Time’ #21

by Tom Smithyman


A familiar character makes a welcome return to the series – just in time to end up in even more hot water than before. This issue is well written and easy to follow, despite the series’ reputation for overly complicated timelines.


In science fiction and comic books, certain death is anything but certain.

From Spock’s resurrection to the return of Superman, the genre and medium are rife with examples of characters who just won’t stay dead. So it didn’t likely surprise many Time Before Time readers when the dying Tatsuo, who seemingly sacrificed himself to save his friends, showed up alive at the end of the last issue.

In the next chapter, we learn how the time traveler survived – and that his is still suffering from fatal radiation poisoning. What’s more important, though, is that Tatsuo is back, because the sacrifice he made hasn’t paid off for fellow time travels Nadia and her robot companion, Kevin. They are stuck in a would-be utopia billions of years in the past. It’s would-be because this community, led by Nadia’s mother, shuns robots. When Kevin is discovered, things take a turn south pretty quickly. Add in some bounty hunters from rival factions fighting over Tatsuo, and our protagonist may feel like he was better off dead.

Written by Rory McConville and Declan Shalvey (who also draws the main cover), this issue does a good job of moving the action along as well as answering some lingering questions in addition to raising a few new ones. In a series known for confusing readers by skipping across timelines, this story arc has remained largely straightforward.

Artist Jorge Coelho, with colors by Chris O’Halloran, mixes styles to portray a gritty future along with a cleaner idealistic ancient past. And his action scenes – there are plenty in this issue – are exciting and easy to follow.

While Tatsuo’s return from death may be a surprise to no one, it should provide the rest of this story arc with some needed momentum.

Time Before Time #21 will be available for purchase on March 15, 2023.

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