What would you do if you could go back in time and save a departed loved one from the death that took them from you? In the Image/Shadowline miniseries Comeback, they can.
But there are consequences.Longtime letterer Ed Brisson (Prophet, Peter Panzerfaust) steps into a new role as writer for Comeback, joining with artist Michael Walsh to tell the story of Reconnect, a very-private company that will travel back in time and save your loved ones from death’s door. But it’s pricey, and not without a few risks and side effects. But if you can agree to that, Reconnect’s top agents Mark and Seth will do the job with as few casualties as possible. Just don’t tell the authorities.
The first issue of the five-issue Comeback series came out last week, and with the second coming out on the 19th we caught up with Brisson to talk about the series, the side effects of time travel, and his own journey from letterer to writer.
Newsarama: Comeback #1’s been out for a week now and has sold out at the distribution level, but a lot of people still haven’t picked it up. Pretend you’re a salesman for the service Reconnect sells in Comeback, Ed. Sell us on it.
Ed Brisson: With time travel a real world possibility, why should you have to lose those closest to you? Who is the government to stand in the way of reuniting you with the only thing that mattered in your life? What harm can it possibly do? None. If someone CAN be saved, WHY wouldn't they be? Isn't not saving them with time travel the same as standing by, doing nothing and letting them die?
But...you need to decide quick. Once they've been gone for 67 days, they're gone for good.Nrama: Ok, come back to me as a writer…. What’s the fine print that Reconnect may not want me to know for Comeback?
Brisson: Well, for one, there's the health implications of time travel. It affects everyone differently, dependent on how healthy they are to begin with. So, you know, there's that. Readers of issue #1 will know what I'm talking about. Let's just say: it's not pretty.
Secondly, Reconnect may be upfront about the fact that because this is illegal and the rescued party still has to appear dead, you'll have to start a new life – new identity, new home, etc – while severing all ties to the past (the irony!). What they don't tell you is what the new life is like. I don't want to get too deeply into it for fear of spoiling, but let's just say that that Reconnect is serious about covering their tracks.
Lastly, if they're recreating deaths by using actual corpses, where the hell are they getting those bodies from?
Nrama: The point man for Reconnect making this all happen is a man named Mark. But just who is he?Brisson: In many ways Mark is an everyman. Even though he's an agent of Reconnect, he also acts as our guide through the organization. He doesn't know any more about it than the reader does going in. His discovery is our discovery.
He's a laid back guy, who really believes that he's doing right in the world – even if he has to bend a few laws in order to do it.
Nrama: What are the job requirements to be an agent for the Reconnect service like Mark is?
Brisson: Charisma! Mark is sort of the point man in rescues. He's the guy who has to convince their targets to come with them. He has to be convincing and non-threatening. He has to be compassionate, but willing to turn a blind eye to some minor legal infractions. When things get tough, Mark has to be ready to react, from nice guy to hard nose.
Seth, on the other hand, is tougher and had to be willing to get his hands dirtier. In many ways he's like a magician, he has to be able to restage death scenes with corpses and sell it as being how it happened the first time around. Having a slush fund to pay off some authorities certainly doesn't hurt.
Nrama: How would you describe Mark and Seth’s partnership?
Brisson: It's a pretty easy one. We'll see as the story progresses that it goes beyond being partners, the two are good friends -- although it may not always seem it. Seth is definitely the "bad cop" in the relationship - he's the one who does most of the dirty work, while Mark is more the face who tries to keep people calm and get them where they need to be with as little hassle as possible.Nrama: In the first issue, we learned that Seth is looking to hang up his boots and quit working for Reconnect. Seems like a plush job – what’s the downside to working for Reconnect and time traveling so often?
Brisson: This is a tough one to get into without venturing into spoiler territory. Readers of the first issue will already be aware of one of the dangers of time travel and in issue 2 will get a bit more about why Seth wants to leave as well as further insight into Reconnect's business practices.
I don't ever want to info-dump while I'm writing the story, so readers will likely not have the full picture of what Reconnect is up to until the very end.
Nrama: Time travel stories aren’t new, but in each they seem to operate on slightly different rules. How does time travel work in Comeback?
Brisson: In Comeback, time travel is limited to 67 days. People travel back in time, but never forward, except to return to the time that they left from. There's no real significance to the 67 days other than that in Comeback it's the scientific ceiling that has been reached. They're working to expand this, but at present, going back further than 67 days will kill you. As it is, there are health implications with time travel (we see this front and center in issue #1). The further back you travel, the more dangerous it becomes.
Nrama: Time travel is a great thing, and what Reconnect is doing seems laudatory… but I imagine there’s more sinister ways to use time travel. Will you cover that in this book?Brisson: Absolutely. Reconnect is much more sinister than what we initially see, so there's that. Regarding other uses for time travel by criminal enterprises...I have a long, long list. Comeback is focused on Reconnect and their own actions, but I have plenty of fodder should we ever want to tell more stories down the line. Not giving anything away though, saving that for myself.
Nrama: Speaking of yourself, you’ve done comics writing before, but for most people you’re best known for your lettering work such as on Prophet. How do you balance being a letterer and wanting to pursue more writing in comics?
Brisson: It's tough! Lettering is what pays my bills these days, so I have to ensure that I'm taking in enough work so that me and my family aren't living on the street. I'm still struggling to find the right balance of time to write and letter. Funnily enough, I initially got into lettering to support my writing. It was a way to earn some extra cash to use to hire artists to work on my scripts. I never thought for a second that I'd end up doing it full-time. Now that I am, I'm always looking for ways to take a little more writing time. My ultimate goal is to make the transition to only writing (although I always want to letter my own work and don't see that changing) and not lettering as much, but unless some writing gigs start landing in my lap (fingers crossed), I'll be lettering for the foreseeable future.
Nrama:One last thing Ed, the cover. I have to admit – it wasn’t the story that first grabbed me here when this book was announced; It was that startlingly excellent cover by Michael Walsh. How’d you and Michael work together to get that perfect illustration and logo design?
Brisson: The logo was deigned by Tim Daniel whose own book, Enormous, was released by Shadowline earlier this year. The cover designs are all Michael and Jordie Bellaire, the colorist. When we started the project, we'd had a lot of conversations about the style of covers we wanted, but it's really Michael who took the torch and just ran with it, creating these stunning illustrations. Jordie's sense of colour have been amazing on these. She's making them shine. I couldn't be happier with how these covers have come out.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!