The Man Who F#&%ed Up Time Graphic Novel Review

From writer John Layman, artist Karl Mostert, colorist Dee Cunniffe, letterer John Layman, published by Aftershock Comics. This volume collects issues 1-5. 

We’ve all wanted to do it. Go back in time to make our lives better. Money, dating, work, whatever it might be. Small changes got us to where we are, so in theory a small change could make things better as well. 

Sean Bennett thinks the same thing. He’s a low on the chain lab worker where an experimental time machine is about to be tested. Just back a week to fix some things, then right back. No one would know. Except Sean comes back and there’s dinosaurs, the United States is a monarchy led by Lincoln’s descendants and that’s only the beginning. Maybe something more than a one week trip happened. 

The comic now becomes an adventure mystery as Sean tries to put time right through multiple time travel trips, battles with versions of himself, and confusion abounds. Sean sees the changes all of the Seans make causing disastrous consequences for the world. We’ve all heard of the Butterfly Effect, Sean is the butterfly cause. 

Time travel is always tricky, I know people who are still confused over the whiteboard in Back to the Future II, but Layman keeps everything on the page organized despite the chaos that Sean has created. The comic becomes one of the best “you know what would be cool” leaps of fantasy I’ve read in years. Look at the cover and imagine the sense of excitement and maybe a bit of dread that Mostert must have felt. A script that begins with some normal people in a lab expands to dinosaurs, robots, cavemen, and every bit of human history in between. Clothing that was real and must still look real. Plus prehistoric and futuristic elements which have to stand alongside and seem just as real. 

All of this craziness builds and builds to a very human story of someone who just wants to be okay. Sean wants a world in which he wasn’t screwed over despite busting his ass and being a good person. You know, how the world is supposed to work. He might have other people standing in his way – we all have villains to our stories – but very few of us screw up entire timelines during such seemingly small tasks. 

I already have to pass my copy along to someone else in the timeline (a co-worker) as we question our one place in the greater dimensions of it all.

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