Pullbox Reviews – Albert Einstein: Time Mason – A Nazi punching good time!

He’s got the mind, the might, and the mustache! Join brilliant scientist and dashing adventurer Albert Einstein in a battle to protect the integrity of our timeline when he joins the Time Masons. But when an unthinkable threat puts the past, present, and future in peril, it’s up to him and a squad of epic historic figures to save the universe before the clock runs out. Get ready for an Einstein you never imagined in the great time-travel adventure history has never seen!

Across time, there are those who would twist events to their own nefarious purpose, corrupting history and remaking the world in their image. Standing in the way of such villains are the Time Masons, guardians of reality- protectors of the past, present, and future. Their greatest operative is Albert Einstein. Genius. Adventurer. Glib tongued rascal. He has been on the trail of a conspiracy that begins with the theft of his own brain, and takes him from the far future to ancient Mesopotamia. Along the way, he’s found himself in the company of such figures as Alexander the Great, Billy the Kid, Genghis Khan, and Cleopatra. What wicked goal these events could be heading toward is as yet unknown, but as it’s the Nazis behind it all, it can’t be anything warm and fuzzy.

Y’know… cuz Nazis.

After reading the first five issues of Action Lab’s unlikely adventures of one of history’s greatest minds, I’ve come to one inescapable conclusion: The stranger the spin, the better the story. Equal parts Raiders of the Lost Ark, Quantum Leap, and James Bond, Albert Einstein: Time Mason is as good a time as you’re likely to find in a comicbook. The action is over the top, the quips come flying off of the page like they were fired from a canon, and the whole is dosed with a liberal helping of pop culture references.

Cuz, Einstein’s a time traveler… of course he’s seen Star Wars.

Marcus Perry has written up the penultimate action movie serial in comicbook form. The very beauty of this title exists simultaneously (just like the Many Worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics) in its completely unrepentant no holds barred attitude and its loving regard for historical events. Einstein is as infallible as all good heroes of the golden age should be, perpetually one step ahead of the Nazis (physics 101- bodies in motion tend to stay in motion) and always prepared when a plan falls apart (as inevitable and dependable as the Newtonian constant of gravitation). Albert’s single flaw is that his secret identity as a Time Mason doesn’t make it easy to teach his class of grad students at Princeton University, and the Dean is on his case for it. Through it all Einstein wins the day by a combination of his mental ingenuity, and the use of a vicious right hook.

The whole thing is made even more perfect by the historical facts that are woven into the thread of the story. Albert Einstein’s brain really was stolen, post-mortem, by a doctor who believed it was too miraculous a mind to just bury. Alexander ordered the construction of the Caspian Gates, in this case fashioned into the monstrous likenesses of giant birds brought to mechanical life through the Emperor’s ingenuity and a healthy dose of poetic license. William H. Bonney was arrested in Silver City, New Mexico for theft, by legendary sheriff Harvey Whitehill. The truth is that by using these facts rather than ignoring them for this science fiction pulp-filled actioner, Perry increases the readability of the book… it’s just cool to read the “Mason Memo” at the end of every issue, to see what actual events may have inspired the direction of the story.

Perry’s words are matched punch for punch by the artwork of Tony Donley. It’s a dynamic, cartoony style that couldn’t be more perfect for this very tongue in cheek take on alternate history. On the page, Einstein is a ruggedly handsome adventurer who bears a slight resemblance to a young Tom Selleck, and can hold his own in a fist fight against Nazi operatives and golden gloves boxers. More important than interesting character designs, which Donley provides aplenty, a title like this has to have a good sense of action. Again, you ask and Donley provides. From varied “camera angles” taking in scenes with Easter Eggs aplenty, to perfectly choreographed action sequences that flow across the page. Some pages are presented with more traditional panel arrangements, while others prevent any sense of monotony by shattering borders and breaking down walls. It’s an outstanding balance in visual storytelling that begs to be… no… deserves to be read.

All things being equal, I’m a fan of all things Pulp. Maybe not so much in my orange juice, but when it comes action movies, books, and comics, I’ll tend to lean toward any nods to the likes of Doc Savage, the Rocketeer, and the Shadow. It makes perfect sense to me that every issue of Albert Einstein: Time Mason starts out with an intro page that provides a cheesy breakdown of the coming story, complete with a type font straight out Raiders of the Lost Ark- itself a perfect tribute to the pulp action classics of Hollywood’s early years (fun fact: Tom Selleck was originally intended for the role of Indiana Jones, but was caught up in his Magnum P.I. contract with CBS).

This is one of those titles that I’ll be reading through more than once (kid you not, I’ve read all five issues twice now). It hits all of the right buttons for me, and if you think we might have a button or two in common, you’re gonna want to check this out.

Come on… it’s Einstein punching the hell out of Nazis. A lot.

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