Review by Tony Keen
Spoilers in review
The second volume of Howard Chaykin’s sf noir Time² came out a year after The Epiphany. It’s pretty much more of the same, only more so. There’s more sex, and more violence, and the sex is more violent. It’s also more explicit – as well as the usual fellatio references (something that often seems to go badly wrong), there are bared breasts, and Chaykin has managed to sneak an erect demonic penis into one panel.
However, the story, which involves a sexually predatory police car, is also thinner than in the previous volume, as Chaykin once again bumps up against the 48-page limit. Chaykin (with a scripting assist from John Francis Moore) introduces a new plot, which then goes off at a tangent, and keeps subplots from the previous volume ticking over, but barely advancing. The reader learns little about the characters that they didn’t know at the end of The Epiphany. This is especially true of love interest Pansy Matthias, who spends most of her time complaining that Maxim Glory won’t have sex with her, and serves little further role in the plot. There’s also a sneaking suspicion that the background hasn’t perhaps been as well conceived as Chaykin would like us to believe, and the logical connections haven’t been properly explored.
Chaykin’s artwork – with some inking assists from Richard Ory – retains the dynamic layouts of the previous volume, but there is a dip in the quality, and sometimes it’s muddy and hard to follow, as is the interlacing dialogue.
Overall, this is a distinctly lesser volume than The Epiphany. Even if you like this sort of thing, Frank Miller does it better. There is a reason why the Time² material has never been collected into a single volume.
Chaykin intended a third volume, but that has never appeared. Instead he developed the themes of sexual violence even further in Black Kiss.