Time travel stories can be fun and exciting to read. With the release of CHRONONAUTS by Mark Millar and Sean Murphy, it just reminded us how much we enjoy them. It also shows how time travel stories need to be handled just right.
We thought we'd think about some other great time travel stories in comics. When you think about it, it's something that's used a lot. Unfortunately, we often get some not so good time travel stories. We came up with some that we really enjoyed and you should check out if you haven't already. And we're talking about stories with actual time travel, not ones that take place in different time periods (like Old Man Logan).
Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes by Geoff Johns & Gary Frank
(ACTION COMICS #858-863)
I've always said that the Legion of Super-Heroes were one of my weak spots when it comes to comics. I had read some of the Silver Age comics with the Legion and Superboy. Later reading different stories from different timelines in different orders threw me off. It was this arc in late 2007 by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank that really won me over with the Legion in modern comics.
Johns told parts of the story in three different time periods. We got to see how sad Superman's life could be as he played the played the role of Clark Kent. This was similar to what growing up in Smallville was like until he met three members of the Legion who had traveled back in time. We also saw Superman travel into the future to try to help a strange turn of events that resulted with aliens being hated despite everyone still honoring the memory and symbolism of Superman. The fact that the sun had been turned into a red sun didn't help matters much.
THE RED WING by Jonathan Hickman & Nick Pitarra
In 2011, Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra gave us the four-issue miniseries dealing with fighter pilots that not only had to be highly skilled in flying their aircrafts, they also had to be able to handle flying through time. Time travel as used to fight war.
"To truly eliminate an enemy, you must change their culture -- Convince them that how they THOUGHT was wrong."
There's some heavy and trippy notions in the story. You'll find yourself sucked in and you'll marvel at how thought out everything is. It's not a simple flick of the switch to make the time travel happen in the story. There are different ideas expressed while not weighing down the story too much. With great art and plenty of action, you'll have a blast with this one.
BACK TO BACK TO THE FUTURE by David Guy Levy & Jeffrey Spokes
If you're a big Back to the Future fan, you're likely aware that Eric Stoltz was original cast as Marty McFly (and Melora Hardin as Jennifer Parker). In this story, producer Bob Gale still feels bad about the changes having to be made. He meets with Hardin and...let's just say these two end up going back in time and the result is Stoltz ended up keeping the role of Marty. This causes a chain of events that changes the present.
You can get the first three parts free and the second half for $2 each HERE.
ALL-STAR WESTERN: Man Out of Time by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
In ALL-STAR WESTERN #22-28, Jonah Hex ends up traveling 150 years into his future after an encounter with Booster Gold. Jonah had some adventures with Jeremiah Arkham's great-great-grandfather, Amadeus. Jonah and the modern day Arkham have their own mini-adventure and Jonah actually gets a girlfriend in the present. The idea of Jonah in the present wasn't exactly new. He had traveled through time before in the pre-New 52 days, believe it or not. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray added a nice touch to the premise and even had Jonah confront the details of his actual death before he returned to his own time. It gets even more interesting with how that plays out.
YOUNG AVENGERS by Allan Heinberg & Jim Cheung
At first, the idea of a "young" group of Avengers sounded a little trite. In the aftermath of Avengers Disassembled, we saw a new group rise from the ashes. Along with the others, we were introduced to Iron Lad but it turned out there was a bit more to him than we thought. With his connection to Kang the Conqueror, of course time travel would be involved. This original run is one that still holds up. It's a series I often find myself going back and re-reading.
THE BUNKER by Joshua Hale Fialkov & Joe Infurnari
THE BUNKER is a comic series I've gushed about several times. It starts off with a group of friends deciding to bury a time capsule. While digging, they discover a bunker buried. The twist is, their names were on it. Inside, they find letters from themselves...from the future. If all that wasn't enough, one of the friends, from the future, also comes back to the present.
Basically, be prepared for several twists and different layers as you see the events unfold across two different time periods.
HULK: FUTURE IMPERFECT by Peter David & George Pérez
It's hard to believe that in 1992, we still hadn't seen too many dark apocalyptic future stories. This was the first I recall that really showed the ravages set upon the future for our comic book heroes (yes, there is also another one, we'll get to that later). Peter David had been writing THE INCREDIBLE HULK for a few years and was really fleshing out the character. When George Perez joined him for this two-issue prestige format series, we witnessed quite the visuals when we saw what the Maestro had unleashed upon the Marvel Universe. Seeing his trophy room was a two-page spread many of us simply had to stop and stare at in wonder.
AVENGERS FOREVER by Kurt Busiek, Carlos Pacheco & Carlos Pacheco & Jesus Merino
It's another Avengers story but this one was jam-packed with Immortus' attempt to kill Rick Jones. Immortus says Jones must die as he has already been stricken by an ailment unknown to the Avengers. They had brought him to the captured Kree Supreme Intelligence when Immortus set his attack against Rick. The assassination is stopped by none other than Kang the Conqueror. You may be aware that Kang is really Immortus' younger self. We're talking crazy time travel business. To add to that, a team of Avengers if formed but from across different time periods, including a Captain America that isn't at the top of his game. Seeing this new team try to work together while disastrous action awaits gives this twelve-issue series an epic feel.
THE FLASH: The Return of Barry Allen by Mark Waid & Greg LaRocque
Barry Allen died in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #8 in 1985. The result was his sidekick, Wally West taking on the mantle of The Flash. Fast forward to 1993. Barry Allen had suddenly returned, with a little amnesia. Wally was, of course, a little skeptical at first but when Hal Jordan's power ring confirmed he was telling the truth. Wally was later convinced even further. But how did Barry really feel about Wally taking his superhero identity? What twists could Mark Waid possibly have up his sleeves?
X-MEN: Days of Future Past by Chris Claremont & John Byrne
This was the big story that really kicked off all the time travel shenanigans for the X-Men. In 1981, Chris Claremont and John Byrne showed us that for as bad as things were for the X-Men, they were destined to get a whole lot worse.
You're likely familiar with the story. A mutant registration act had passed. Mutants were incarcerated, hunted, or killed. Out of desperation, the X-Men, as a last resort, an adult Kitty Pryde's mind is sent back into her younger self's body to prevent the assassination of Senator Kelly. It's only two issues. It was shocking for the time. The cover images are pretty iconic. I would imagine most comic or X-Men fans have already read them. If not, it's basically a big moment in comic book history you should check out.
Obviously these are not all of the greatest comic books stories that contain time travel. We'd love to hear which ones are most memorable for you. Which ones here have you read? Let us know below.