‘The Rift’: A Fun Time Travel Comic

The Rift is a time travel comic that’s quite well done from Red 5 Comics.  Co-written by Richard Rayner (fun fact, he’s the guy that gave Neil Gaiman a cover story for a British magazine where Neil told about those new adult-type comics like Watchmen and such) and Don Handfield, art by Leno Carvalho, colors by Rodrigo Fernandes, letters by Taylor Esposito on issue 1 and DC Hopkins on the rest of it, and covers by Nicholas Ely.  “Presented by” Jeremy Renner, don’tchaknow?

The Rift opens on a woman, Mary Ann, traveling in her truck through Kansas with her son Elijah, when a World War II plane crashes in front of them, carrying pilot Thomas Cole.  From there, things get weird, as a government agency (of course) gets involved and attempts to get Cole back to his own time, as apparently the rift isn’t the first one.  Each one that has appeared has had to have whatever was sent through sent back, and when things didn’t go back, weird stuff has happened (remember Three Mile Island?).

Rift Cover 1
It even works that the wraparound cover doesn’t exactly match up….

 

From there, the story takes off nicely.  The government group seems like one of those typically “eeeeevil” types at first, but we see that the head people in charge take their jobs seriously and don’t like having to do what they do (sending people back in time, often to die), but consider that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.  The head guy, Kaminski, is even shown to have a heart through a nice reveal about another character (which is also done well — we’re not hammered over the head with it, but it’s made clear what the reveal is).  Of course, they’re also kind of incompetent as well, and their security sucks.

Rift Cover 2
Another great cover

The artwork is fairly well done.  Carvalho has a style that reminds me a of a few people that worked on Superman comics in the last decade —  I think I’m thinking of Jesus Merino and Eddie Barrows (apologies for no interior art scans).  Carvalho is pretty good at showing the emotions of the people, and his panel to panel transitions are well done.

Rift Cover 3
Great graphic design on these covers!

The Rift is definitely reminiscent of Quantum Leap, in that the time travel element is a way of telling emotionally rich stories.  After a few rifts, it comes to pass that it seems that the rift opens and brings people to the future for a reason, to settle something that happened in the past and allow them to carry on with their lives.

There are also some nice bits too, like the use of the name Elijah for the kid, as that was the prophet taken up by unearthly means in the Bible (I believe), and the use of a flying vehicle crash into Kansas as a way to open your comic book.

It’s not perfect, as there are some missteps and cliched elements.  The final issue of the mini seemed rushed, as if they needed to finish out all the plotlines as much as possible and therefore had to cram a bunch of stuff in.  And there’s a character from scumbag central casting who is an ex-junkie but is also a super cunning and wily character, mostly because the script calls for him to be.  Also, in the trade, the wraparound covers aren’t printed so that the front and back are next to each other, like the scans above.  And the book smells funny.  I think it’s the glossy cover.

This volume of The Rift actually is the beginning of what they hope will be more, although I’m not sure it was solicited as such, although that doesn’t really bother me that much.  It’s more shocking to me when a comic is a self-contained thing than not.

Overall I was quite satisfied with this comic.  It’s got a cool premise that’s done well, the artwork tells the story well, the covers are fantastic, and I look forward to seeing more of The Rift in…ahem…the future.

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