Albert Einstein: Not Your Average Time Traveller
This isn’t your grandfather’s Albert Einstein. No way, sir. Think Han Solo, meets Indiana Jones, meets Magnum P.I. Or, 80’s Action Hero in a Steampunk world. The credits make me feel like I’m getting ready to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark. And the book even opens like a 007 movie would, throwing us right in mid-battle with an evil scientist.
The premise is that the Time Masons recruit Al when he was in his early Thirties. He’s relocated to Princeton University, 1933 – the year Einstein was supposed to move to the U.S. Anyway. Thus setting up a secret identity for his new time-traveling adventurer persona.
“Aw, sauerkraut!” In between the sci-fi action, there’s sitcom-ready comedy. He never shows up to his lectures or speeches on time. In which causes frictional hilarity with his colleagues. At one point the Dean, at his wits end, hires a retired prizefighter as Al’s “valet.” This Elwood is similar to Diggle’s original role on Arrow. Just like Oliver Queen, Al would constantly escape to do what he does best.
There were plenty of things for the time-travel nerd in me to geek out on. Easter Eggs and pop culture references galore, like his need to call Billy the Kid, Emilio Estevez (how would Einstein know about that movie? Why, he’s a time-traveler, of course). Each issue has a gimmicky theme, like DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. And the quirky art reminded me of Sean Gordon Murphy’s pencils on Chrononauts.
Inspired by Marvel’s Early Days
But even more than Murphy, Tony Donley’s art resembled the greats, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. The creators even admitted inspiration from Marvel’s early days – specifically, the Fantastic Four. Not just the art, but also the writing. In which, Stan Lee would develop a basic plot. Once Kirby or Ditko were finished with the art, Lee would go over and add dialog to the bubbles. Even the footnotes had goofy nicknames, like “Marvelous Marcus.”
That’s what made the book even better. It’s wasn’t enough to have a stellar story with art to match. Donley and writer, Marcus Perry, upped the ante with different segments in their backup pages: history facts that support all the crazy events Al goes through (“we can’t make this stuff up if we tried”), interview-style banter with the creators, even one on how they developed the art.
I love how the story just flows right into each issue. As Al chases a thief named Reiger throughout time, he hops from era to era – from the Old West, to Ancient Greece, to the Pyramids of Egypt. However, in the last issue of the trade, this seamless flow is rudely interrupted. When Reiger smashes Als’ pocket watch in the previous issue, our hero is transported back to the prehistoric age. Face-to-face with a T-Rex, reality unfolds around him.
But then he stumbles across the Century Stones. Where most time-travel stories use Plutonium, the Time Masons fuel their pocket watches with these stones. I grew a little miffed when I embarked on the next chapter, having to jump across the gap that was created. I sure hope they return to this point and explain how he got from point “sauerkraut” to Cleopatra.
Albert Einstein takes out a Perfect Six-Pack!
But I’ll forgive the hiccup with the last issue, and the lack of Einstein’s accent. I found this book quite enjoyable. It had equal parts of humor and adventure. The story, art, and even the pacing made a hundred and fifty page book feel like a breeze.
You can grab your copy of Albert Einstein: Time Mason Vol 1 from your local comic store or via Comixology.
How did we rate Albert Einstein: Time Mason Vol 1? 6 Sodas
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Nebraska native living with his wife and two dogs. Author of Hostage 100 and Full Steam Ahead. Allen also co-hosts the Fatty/Slim Podcast.