It seems these days that an “original” idea is nothing more than a synthesis of established genres. Take Time Bomb from the creators Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray (Freedom Fighters, Power Girl) and artist Paul Gulacy (Jonah Hex) of which issue #2 is released today. Combining time-traveling sci-fi appeal of works like Stargate or Dr. Who with historical fiction, Palmiotti and Gray are betting that the sum of science and history will be greater than the parts.
Time Bomb started with a bang. Issue #1 introduced the dilemma: a preserved World War II city under Berlin was unearthed, which in turn resulted in the accidental firing of a doomsday Omega missile carrying a viral load that was quickly decimating the world’s population. The scientific community had only one solution for this disaster: an experimental device called a “time bomb”, believed to successful send its occupants back into the past. They hoped to prevent the triggering of the doomsday missile, except they had no way of controlling the destination of the time-travelers. Four special operatives were selected for the task with the understanding that this trip may be one way. At the conclusion, the operatives find themselves smack in the middle of World War II Germany in sight of a concentration camp approximately at the time the missile was being developed.
Issue #2 continues the action as the team split up to find the underground bunker and somehow thwart the Nazi plan. Given the sensitivities of time-travel, the team is aware that every action and contact they make will have repercussions in the future. Nevertheless, the team is proactive in rescuing captives of a concentration camp and killing several Nazis along the way. Not fully explored in this issue is the time-lost creator of the Time Bomb, who may yet make an appearance and have more to do with the Omega bomb than has thus far revealed.
Admittedly, Time Bomb has an intriguing premise not unlike an extended “What If” issue. Palmiotti and Gray do have a tendency to overly explain the set-up to their stories dampening the stretches in the issues that are usually more action-driven. The characters appeared interesting at first but their significance quickly become secondary in this plot. The team consists of Jack, the team leader, Ken, a pretty boy with dubious morals and the recently divorced couple, Christian and Peggy. The dialogue can get a bit stifling at times but the pulse of the book ought to be in the urgency to find and disarm the omega bomb the Nazis were secretly building. Palmiotti and Gray skirt the edges of content regarding World War II Nazi Germany perhaps playing it safe so as not to inadvertently alienate their readers with controversial historical reinvention.
As a bridge to the final chapter, Issue #2 brings much of the expected action but does little to bring the reader closer to the climax of the plot. One hopes that Time Bomb eventually surges with greater drama and the plot twists readers are looking for in this promising but thus far, dissatisfying series.