The Argus #3 from Action Lab Entertainment’s Danger Zone,  is a slick, time-travel sci-fi adventure under the Action Lab: Danger Zone mature readers banner. It appeals to readers who like Chrononauts and Rick and Morty.

The Argus #3THE ARGUS #3

Author: Mark Bertolini
Illustrator: Darryl Knickrehm
Colorist: Darryl Knickrehm
Letterer: Darryl Knickrehm
Editor: Nicole D’Andria
Publisher: Action Lab: Danger Zone
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: April 15, 2020

SOLICITATION: Young Randall Patton, the boy genius behind time travel, has just initiated a full reset – sending him back to the beginning of the whole ordeal. Can he stop the monstrous Killer Patton before he suffers from the accident that created him? Randall will begin to understand the extent of his control over time…and Time is not happy about it! The penultimate issue of the smash sci-fi series is here!

SMART SCIENCE FICTION

I’ve been reading and enjoying Mr. Bertolini’s writing for several years now, and he never disappoints! If you want something that will challenge your thinking (and sometimes your sensibilities), buy whatever book bears his name!

This comic reminds me of a Calvin and Hobbes storyline in which Calvin made copies of himself so he could have someone to do everything for him. He didn’t realize that the other Calvin’s would feel the same way about everything, so they were not interested in helping him out at all. Instead, they got him in even more trouble! Meeting ourselves, even different versions, may be a disappointing experience!

Here’s a description of the series that I think will be helpful: “The Argus is the space/time continuum’s temporal police force made up of 100 versions of the same man from various points in his own timeline. It is their job to monitor and protect the continuum from breaks, incursions, and other damage that can occur. When one of the versions goes insane after a disastrous mission, he starts hunting and killing the other versions, and they have no choice but to violate the golden rule: recruiting the 16-year-old prodigy that invented time travel in the first place.”

Half the fun for me in reading this series has been seeing how varied the Randall Pattons can be from each other (and I love the choice of that last name, too!). One is an older action hero, another has gone bad, for instance. They all spring from the original, the one who came up with the concept that made time travel real. I also love that they refer to each other based on the order they were recruited. For instance, the one who goes bad is 97, which is the number out of 100 he is in The Argus.

Of course, if you fool with the forces of nature, you shouldn’t expect them to go along with you. The Pattons discover that Time doesn’t like it when you mess with it, so they have an outside enemy besides the other numbers!

Like all good science fiction, this series gives you plenty to think about, including just how different you might be if just one or two events happened differently. Also, this story requires that you pay attention to what you’re reading. It’s not a five-minute quickie like so many comic books are today!

There are wonderful bits of dark humor along the way, like when one of the Pattons remarks, “I’m so far out of my depth, this is absolutely insane!” But this whole thing was a Patton creation, wasn’t it? Dark, baby, dark!

The dialogue, which is central to understanding all that is happening, is written concisely, so again—pay attention! You don’t want to miss anything that the various Pattons are talking about!

EXTRA-NORMAL ART

As I always believe, two things determine how strong I feel the art is. First is how understandable the facial expressions are. With various versions of the same character running around, this is critical! Fortunately, the artist does a super job of helping us know who is who, and what the various Pattons are feeling.

The second factor focuses on the action sequences. Comics are a visual medium, so I’m glad they are strong in this series, especially the fights. I also liked the different backgrounds and settings for the different sequences, like when Time strikes back. Easily understood as well as cool art!

BOTTOM LINE: A Great ‘What If?’

What makes science fiction so great to me is that it often asks, “what if?” In this book, we’re examining what would happen if we really could time travel. It’s not pretty!

I’m going to be fascinated to read just how this story will wrap up in issue #4. They’ve already hit what I thought was the best solution—stopping Patton #1 from coming up with the idea in the first place. Now what?

It’s important to note that this book came out digitally this week. I’m hoping they will collect it all into a trade or even a hardcover version for me to keep. It’s that good! Highly recommended!


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The Argus #3 of 4

90%
90%
Great sci-fi reading!

What makes science fiction so great to me is that it often asks, “what if?” In The Argus, we’re examining what would happen if we really could time travel. It’s not pretty!

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About Author

Wayne Hall creates the Wayne's Comics Podcast. He’s interviewed Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, John Layman, Kyle Higgins, Phil Hester, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, David Petersen, Christos Gage, Mike Grell, and Matt Kindt. On this site each week, he writes his "Comics Portal" column (general comics comments and previews) and reviews comics.

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