Time Grunts Vol 1: Critiquing Nationalism

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Writer: Evan K. Pozios
Artists: Patrick Thomas Parnell, Alex Sanchez

Time Grunts takes a familiar concept – that of time travel – and turns it on its head in a sharp, clever reinterpretation of history’s greatest global conflict. Using real life historical events as a setting for fiction can be challenging. A writer has to balance accuracy with the demands of the narrative.

Evan K. Pozios manages to deliver an exciting yarn in the mold of vintage war comics without glossing over the atrocities and heroism associated with World War 2. Time Grunts offers the rare pleasure of lyrical captions, written in the third person, as a means of moving the story along. This is an old-fashioned technique seldom found in modern comics and it proves extremely effective here. Pozios’ turn-of-phrase is poetic and occasionally, darkly funny.

The linework is sketchy, reminiscent of Sean Phillips’ work in its spareness. This style serves the war genre well although it might not be to everyone’s taste. Overall, there’s a pleasing economy to the artwork; it proves easy to follow and helps make Time Grunts accessible to both seasoned lovers of the medium and newcomers. The colors are muted and deliberately off-kilter, washed-out shades that summon up a long-gone era. A surprising palette of purples and pinks lends the comic a touch of strangeness, aiding the script when it makes the transition from gritty war tale to science fiction.

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One of the biggest surprises of the book is the well-rounded depiction of the various military factions. While the philosophy behind Nazi Germany is rightly shown as deplorable, well-written captions help the reader understand why such a philosophy proved seductive to an entire nation.  Despite its focus on action scenes, the script still takes time to comment on the thin line separating fanaticism from national pride.

This is especially pertinent in our current age, where more and more educated people are drifting towards destructive belief systems based on bigotry and negative stereotypes. The first volume of Time Grunts is not just a good book; it’s an insightful one.

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