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Days Missing #2 & #3

Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2009
By: Matthew Brady

David Hine; Ian Edgington
Chris Burnham; Lee Moder
Archaia Press Studios
Days Missing, which apparently was dreamed up by Gene Roddenberry before he died, is an interesting foundational concept. But given that it hasnít been fully explained, it ends up kind of overshadowing the stories in the comics itself. Basically, itís about an immortal humanoid alien (maybe?) observer known as ďthe Steward,Ē who has been living on Earth for millennia and he has the technology to manipulate space-time in a way that can erase the events of a single day from history helping humans to avoid disasters and avert apocalypses. How heís doing this, or why (outside of an affection for humanity), or why he chose to change certain things but leave historyís various atrocities in place, is not addressed. The series is more concerned with individual stories. This means the comic is centered around a cipher and we rarely get to spend enough time with each issueís characters to make for much of an impact.

To make things even less focused the series has had rotating creative teams with a different writer and artist telling a story each issue. This makes the chances of any character development even more unlikely. The second issue, by David Hine and Chris Burnham, involves the Steward in the development of Frankenstein, as he watches Mary Shelley meet a scientist who plans to revive a dead, stitched together body and decides that this is something which man is not ready for. Itís not a terrible idea, but the problem with having Shelley have a real life inspiration for her novel makes it seem like she wasnít smart or imaginative enough to come up with the idea herself. Itís kind of insulting, and possibly sexist, to posit that she must have seen the events with her own eyes and just turned it into a story.

The plot of the issue itself isnít all that bad, but it doesnít really do anything unexpected. No, the real travesty here is Burnhamís art, which might have looked good in its penciled form, and judging by the detailed grotesqueries he provided for the Joe Casey written graphic novel Nixonís Pals, it was probably very nice indeed. But colorists Imaginary Friends Studios slather so many computery hues and effects on top of it that it ends up looking pretty ugly, losing the detailed freakiness that Burnham does so well.

The third issue, by Ian Edgington and Lee Moder, fares a bit better, jumping to the present day as the Steward watches a scientist (who, since this is a comic book, is a sexy lady) working on the Large Hadron Collider in Europe as she is about to discover some anomalies in space-time that might reveal his existence and activities. He is conflicted about whether he should stop her, but his hand is forced by the actions of a third party, a father whose son is dying of cancer because he canít afford health insurance (I thought France had socialized medicine?) that decides to take out his frustration in regard to government spending with an act of violence. It ends up working fairly well as a conflict, especially in a subplot about the scientistís relationship with her estranged husband, and Moderís art fares much better under the coloring, perhaps because he has a cleaner, less detail intensive style.

So is the series worth a look? So far, the stories themselves have been only OK, perhaps because the writers are struggling to work around a vague concept of Roddenberryís that hasnít been established very well. Maybe the last two issues of the mini-series will answer some questions and attempt to tie things together, but at this point, it seems pretty scattershot, with some interesting moments or ideas, but nothing that adds up to a satisfying whole. Give any of the teams more space to work and more time to flesh out a deeper story and you might have something, but for now itís just a shallow pond that might or might not be worth anybodyís attention.



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