Wednesday, January 13, 2016

CBR The Time Bender Trilogy

Welcome to the world of TOMORROW!



YES. There's time travel in this story!
For more Matt Groening-related reviews, check these other pages below!

Comic title: Futurama Volume 4: The Time Bender Trilogy
Written by Ian Boothby
Drawn by James Lloyd & John Delaney

Published by Bongo Comics 
From 2006
Lineup Futurama series
Format: Softcover trade paperback collecting Futurama Comics #16-19.

If Futurama is mostly fondly remembered as a great scifi loving tribute/parody cartoon, it also was a pretty great great scifi loving tribute/parody comic book as well!

Released by Matt Groening's Bongo Comics publisher, it has a pretty impressive run and is currently the only new Futurama material still being continuously produced lasting over 75 issues to date.

The Time Bender Trilogy collects issues #16-19 of the comic and are still considered some of the best tales published in the series. This is the final collection of Futurama comics so far and is considered the 4th volume in the series, even though it was actually technically released before Conquers The Universe (mostly because of some scheduling conflict.. or just because Bongo Comics wanted to rush a reprint of The Time Bender Trilogy quickly).

This volume marks one of the very cases a single ongoing continuous storyline spread across several issues.

The book kicks off with a prologue issue titled "Kickin' It Old School", set before the later "Time Bender Trilogy". Professor Farnsworth's nephew Cubert has been having some trouble at school. You see his IQ dropped a few points! So Farnsworth decides to send him to boarding school. And Fry, Leela and Bender are in charge of finding him a new school. They visit a few (parody of) schools without much success and finally all get accidentally enrolled alongside Cubert! At first they all try to desperately fit in.. before being forced to ditch school life to prevent a supernova from destroying the galaxy!

Upon their return to New New York, they find everybody's gone missing across the entire world! And that's where The Time Bender Trilogy picks up. They find out the Professor stranded the entire planet back in the era of the dinosaurs.

This 3-parter sees our heroes looking for a 4-part time machine they must assemble. Due to some time shenanigans, they all get stuck in these different time periods. Leela's forced to face the Ancient Gods in Ancient Greece! Bender ends up in Salem where robots are being burned at the stake instead of witches! And Fry finds himself in what first appears to be the middle of World War I... but it's actually an alien invasion!

In the end they're all able to come together at the same time, assemble all the pieces of the time machine and finally rescue everyone back to the future... of the year 3000, that is!

The Time Bender Trilogy was quite an epic storyline that would have made quite an action-packed and over-the-top filled episode on the show. I'm glad it took form in a comic book instead since it was allowed to breath a little and spend some time with each of our three heroes and play with plenty of visual gags and jokes.

I also liked how all of the four issues were written by a single writer, Ian Boothby. Bongo Comics tends to use several authors, artists and writers alike, on their content. But having a single mind behind the story helped keep the story unified.

James Lloyd's wasn't able to be kept for the entire comic book series, after taking care of pencils and inking in the first issue he was replaced with a different team for the remaining issues, but you won't really notice it since they all work really hard on keeping the look of these comics similar to the cartoon.

The actual story is really silly and light, it's more of a pitch for a video game actually (Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time anyone?). But it was really just a pretext for the little sequences and jokes.

The Time Bender Trilogy is a sort of spiritual successor to the first time travel adventure seen in the actual show (in "Roswell that Ends Well") and the Futurama game, it even had a few nods to both stories.

The comic was really fun and kept the same spirit of the show, with lots of great parodies and references to the likes of Harry Potter, the Breakfast Club, Star Trek and even Space Invaders!

Overall, the Time Bender Trilogy is a fantastic story arc from the Futurama comics!

It's something I would Really Recommend for any fan of the show to have a look to see what is the best the comic can offer. It's funny, colorful, adventurous and really silly. It's maybe a bit simpler and "dumber" than the animated series itself, but it has the same type of tone and atmosphere. And I even think it could work great as an introduction to the series for a newcomer.

And that is all for these Futurama trade paperbacks. There was one last collection, but it was sadly only release as an exclusive at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con. It collected issues #23, 37, 39 and 45, but it's now super-hard to find a print of it. It's a shame we never got a proper mass release of this last collection, the Futurama Comics to Infinity

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Aaylas!

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