Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Question of Time!

How do you follow the "excitement" that was the crossover event "Millenium"? Time travel! That's right, Chronos is back and the only one who can stop him is Blue Beetle! Len Wein, Ross Andru and Danny Bulanadi are back for issue #22, and with a story so big they brought in Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier (credited as RJM Lofficier) and the great Gil Kane to help with a story called "A Question of Time!"

Blue Beetle wakes on his back in a crashed BUG with a Tyrannosaurus Rex outside trying to get in! How did he get here? The last thing he remembers is leaving a League meeting following the end of "Millennium". He was headed home when the BUG ran into some unusual storm activity, and a strange light enveloped his city. 

He tried flying through the light, some kind of energy field...and now he's staring down a dinosaur! The T.Rex goes in for a bite, but Blue Beetle manages to deter it with a shock of electricity through the BUG's hull. 

After taking a few minutes to make some repairs, the BUG takes flight once more leading Blue Beetle to something more shocking than dinosaurs...a mining complex!

Dekan Drache and Klaus Cornelius meet with European industrialists asking for approval to activate "Agent Axis"...but are denied. Cornelius doesn't take it well, and swears that they'll regret the decision!

Ted flies the BUG closer to the mining operation and notices a tower nearby, shaped like a sundial. Of course the man in the tower notices Blue Beetle too, and Chronos is none to happy to see him! 

Chronos has wired some pterodactyls with electronics, allowing him to control them...and he does! A half dozen flying lizards swoop from the sky, attacking the BUG. Blue Beetle tries blasting them, but they're fast and manage to dodge his shots. He tries to evade them, but he can't shake them. When they land on the BUG, he makes one last attempt and shock them with the same blast of electricity that deterred the T. Rex.

It works! With Chronos' electronic devices shorted out the pterodactyls fly off. Chronos is down, but not out! He zaps the BUG with a ray...that seems to devolve Ted's technology...and then, suddenly, Ted finds himself transported into a giant hourglass!

This is when Chronos, like any good villain, thinking he has the upper hand reveals his plan. While studying geology, he discovered that at this particular point in time a rare metal, technetium, existed underneath what is currently Chicago. What makes it so valuable? It's strong as steel and completely anti-corrosive. It can't rust. Chronos figures he'll make a fortune with this metal in the future/present. With that explained, he leaves, allowing Blue Beetle to escape the hourglass in a scene worthy of the 60's Batman TV series! 

Knocking the hourglass to its side, Ted propels it across the floor like a hamster wheel, until Chronos fires explosive watch hands, shattering the glass and inadvertently freeing our hero! The duo battle across Chronos' lab, until their battle literally brings the roof down on them! 

Blue Beetle tries desperately to get Chronos to leave, but the rougue is intent on staying and collecting the technetium. Ted warns him that the geochronic field that brought them to the past is unstable and ready to collapse, but greed overrules reason and in the end Ted has no choice but to leave without Chronos or be trapped forever himself. After passing through the field again, he finds himself back in present day Chicago...while Chronos is left in the past, running from dinosaurs.

After the last few issues left me a little disappointed, what with the Millennium tie-ins and all, this one was just whacked out fun! The return of Chronos...and Gil Kane?! Seriously! This was pure comic book enjoyment! And next issue? The Madmen are back? We're only a couple issues from the end of this series...but it sure does look like we're going out on a high note!

1 comment:

  1. Gil Kane was always reliably wonderful. Enjoyed his artwork in the Secret Origins issue that told both Silver Age BB origins. Wish he'd have stuck around for more.