In Review: TimeQuake

Review by Luke Williams

The Fleetway Files - Timequake (Hibernia Comics 2023) © Rebellion

The Book: Long before the agents of Indigo Prime and Loki’s Time Variance Authority there was TimeQuake! Time-Control patrol the timelines to keep reality safe from time-quakes: devastating changes to the structure of time caused by threats ranging from alien incursions to Nazi meddling and techno-Aztec attacks…

TimeQuake was the work of Chris Lowder, Ian Mennell, John Cooper, Ian Kennedy, Alberto Salinas, Carlos Alberto Magallanes and Jesus Redondo.

The Fleetway Files - Timequake (Hibernia Comics 2023) © Rebellion

The Review: Once a upon a time, there were two British science fiction comics published by IPC: 2000AD, which is still with us, but in 1978 it briefly had inhouse competition. The publisher commissioned Kelvin Gosnell, the second editor of 2000AD and the guy who brought the concept of a newsstand science fiction comic to IPC, to create Starlord.

Initially proposed to be aimed at a more sophisticated audience than its stablemate, Starlord was printed on better quality paper and had a price to match.

Star Lord (1978) 1-22, a complete run, With Free Gifts for Issues 1-3. Featuring Strontium Dog by Carlos Ezquerra, Planet of the Damned and TimeQuake by Ian Kennedy and Ro-Busters by Carlos Pino all begin. Hell Planet Game in issues 4-7 complete
Issues of Star Lord, with Free Gifts for Issues 1-3, a comic that ran for just 22 issues before being merged with 2000AD. Strips featured included Strontium Dog, Planet of the Damned and TimeQuake and Ro-Busters. Image: Phil-Comics

As was the way of comic publishing in the days of “Hatch, Match and Dispatch”, Starlord was merged into 2000AD after just 22 issues, carrying over just a small number of its strips, notably “Strontium Dog” and “Ro Busters”, giving “The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic” a bit of a boost. But there was another refugee, only reappearing briefly in 2000AD – the lesser known “TimeQuake.”

Steamship captain James Blocker is taken against his will by mysterious and strangely garbed people appearing out of nowhere. They explain they have rescued him from a nuclear holocaust that he helped bring about, but, it appears he can help prevent that disaster from occurring.

Pages from the opening episode of TimeQuake, written by Chris Lowder (as Jack Adrian), art by Ian Kennedy
Pages from the opening episode of “TimeQuake”, written by Chris Lowder (as Jack Adrian), art by Ian Kennedy

Blocker had been rescued by Time Control: a team made up of operatives from throughout human history, brought together to protect the time stream and prevent “time quakes” the disruption of the time stream by “unnatural” events, brought about by interference from  those up to no good.

This volume collects the whole TimeQuake saga from the main run in Starlord and its fleeting return in 2000AD after the merger, offering over one hundred pages of time paradox shenanigans, aliens, Aztecs pirates, Nazis and dinosaurs. Blocker, as the reader identification figure, comes across as a less bitter Bill Savage, with dialogue to match: irascible, likely to punch first ask questions later and a bit of a rebel. It’s of an age, clearly, some of the dialogue is a bit cringey and not particularly sensitive to modern ears. But like most comics of this era, it rattles along: dense, fast paced  and action packed. 

Starlord's "TimeQuake", written by Chris Lowder (as Jack Adrian), art by Salinas
Starlord’s “TimeQuake”, written by Chris Lowder (as Jack Adrian), art by Salinas
Starlord's "TimeQuake", written by Ian Mennell, art by Salinas
Starlord's "TimeQuake", written by Ian Mennell, art by Salinas
Starlord’s “TimeQuake”, written by Ian Mennell, art by Salinas
The final "TimeQuake" story, written by Chris Lowder (as Jack Adrian), art by Jesus Redondo
The final “TimeQuake” story, written by Chris Lowder (as Jack Adrian), art by Jesus Redondo

Art wise, after the first few issues of Ian Kennedy and John Cooper, it settles down to Magallanes, with the lion’s share of the later stories drawn by Salinas. In this edition, Hibernia’s scans do the beautiful artwork justice, offering dynamic, highly detailed work which only really shows its age due to the designs.

About halfway through the Starlord run, Ian Mennell takes over scripting from Chris Lowder (writing as Jack Adrian) without missing a beat, picking up from where Lowder left off, with no discernible change of style. When the comics merge and the series returns for its valedictory storyline, Chris Lowder returns (again writing as Jack Adrian), paired with Jesus Redondo on art that is kinetic and beautiful, but a jarring change in comparison with what had come before.

Despite teasing a sequel in its final episode, that was the last we saw of Time Control and James Blocker, apart from a cameo in 2000AD‘sArmoured Gideon” in the 1990s.

Old school, classic thrills, lovingly collected. 

Luke Williams

TimeQuake is available to order direct from Hibernia Comics | 108 pages (A4 perfect bound), including all colour pages and centrespreads, and with cover gallery

Web Links

Starlord: 2000AD’s short-lived sibling – feature by Luke Williams

Categories: 2000AD, British Comics, Comics, Features, Reviews

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1 reply

  1. Nice review — many thanks! Always good to get a friendly nod, even at my age. ‘TimeQuake’ came out of discussions with Kelvin Gosnell (the only guy of my generation to smoke a pipe) and I asked my old friend Ian Mennell (son of my even older friend Ken Mennell) to co-write since I had a full non-Fleetway workload on at the time (he also did a bit on ‘The Camelot Clan’ with me: altho that was a year or so earlier — he was a terrific ideas-man, which was why he was so successful on Bob Paynter’s ‘funnies’ department). Always fascinated by time-travel/alternate-worlds, tho not from Bryan Talbot (excellent as he was/is) — more Sprague de Camp, Laumer (absolutely!), Chad Oliver, Donald Suddaby, Ronald Welch, Alison Uttley, and a few thousand more. Have to say, Hibernia’s done a brilliant job!

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