A new original graphic novel from comic book creator Ibrahim Moustafa and Humanoids combines a spy thriller with some time-traveling shenanigans. We follow temporal agent Tarik Abdelnasser (yes, what a mouth full!) as he investigates anomalies in the time stream but ends up in a time loop where he discovers a conspiracy that could possibly have a massive impact on the world. Welcome to the world of Retroactive.
Written by: Ibrahim Moustafa
Art by: Ibrahim Moustafa
Colors by: Brad Simpson
Letters by: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Time-Travel and Loops
Time travel exists but only the world’s top governments have access to it, so it is not something the general public is aware of. We follow Tarik as he tries to keep history as we know it intact whilst juggling personal and work commitments. During a mission, he uncovers a conspiracy by his future self to destroy time travel… So now he is faced with an impossible choice, should he break the rules that he has lived by to protect countless lives?
Is it worth the read?
This is yet another time travel story. Though generally speaking feels new and fresh but in the end, it is not. We suffer from the same tropes that we find in countless similar stories. The downside to time travel stories is that the same historical figures are brought to the fore, which kind of lacks imagination. Yep, Hitler and the assassination of JFK make their appearance. The age-old question seemingly is, if I have the power to change the past and save lives why shouldn’t I be able to do it?
You can change anything in fiction you are only limited by your imagination, and yet there is nothing new. The only thing that change is the characters and the agency they work for. However, this is a spy thriller which is a fresh take on this story. So you get the tough-as-nails main protagonist, the difference here is that they are trying to show him… how can I put this? His human side… He has struggles and doubts which is something we don’t usually see from these types. The side characters have no depth to them and you could have left them on the cutting room floor. They spark the same emotional reaction as the office printer.
Or maybe it is the loop that is thrown in here, which you only actually realize if you manage to finish this book. It must be said that the story is not bad in any sense of the word, what holds it back from being great is the fact that it feels like something we have been exposed to countless times.
But if you love these more power to you. And you should give this a go.
The art and coloring are exceptional. It is smooth and polished and the characters are easily distinguishable. The action sequences flow marvelously. If there is a highlight to this book it is most definitely the art and the exceptional work of the colorist.