Time Flyz #3: Berlin Breakout

Time Flyz #3: Berlin Breakout (2008)
by Zondervan
160 Pages - Black and White [ Action / Historical / Youth ]

Writer - Ben Avery
Artist - Adi Darda Guadiamo

Publisher summary: The TimeFlyz travel to 1938 Berlin where they learn that they must protect the great physicist Lise Mitner from an evil plot by Darchon to kidnap her as she makes a perilous journey to escape from Nazi oppression.

Reviewer: UC Pseudonym | Contact | 27 April 2008

By the third volume of the series, readers will probably have formed their opinions and are unlikely to change. However, in the spirit of friendly criticism or for anyone who wants details/commentary, I will provide this review about new elements of the story.

Readers will find things much the same in this volume. Art is roughly on par with the previous two, though thankfully there are fewer instances of super deformed characters. There is more plot and less action, though still in roughly the same balance. In my opinion the humor has also improved and some of the dialogue with it (the bit about “WH” being longer than “Wormhole” would have worked in a story for a much older audience). However, it did lead me to wonder one thing: why does Tak speak in buzzing? All the characters seem to understand him, even Laurel, so I’m not certain what narrative purpose this serves.

This volume provides an explanation of how the flies travel through time, if not how other mechanics work. It’s science fiction in only the loosest sense, but that’s appropriate for a children’s story. I really wish they hadn’t said “quantum powers,” but what can you do? Loose physics are to be expected, so I just apply some suspension of disbelief concerning Darchon’s nanotechnology.

Speaking of the spider, he’s not a bad nemesis. He proves himself capable of creating decent plans and requires the main characters to go to some lengths to defeat him (fortunately without invoking much Protagonist Power). This is refreshing for this kind of story. One can only hope that his master will be handled equally well.

Similarly, it is good to see a serious subject such as Nazi Germany addressed. The subject matter is appropriate for the audience without coddling them. I was momentarily disapproving and then pleasantly surprised at the mention of Albert Einstein. Too often Christians have falsely claimed him, whereas this volume acknowledges his materialism. Toward the end there is a direct miracle, but I think it was wise to choose events that have already been told instead of inventing new things. Miracles may be a staple of Christian fiction, but they’re rather direct deus ex machine.

This volume made the episodic nature of this series much clearer. Perhaps some of this is necessary, given the audience, but it still leads to a weaker story overall. There are other plot elements on the table, so hopefully they will develop as the story progresses, instead of merely being one period-themed volume after another. Given everything in the main plot, there is certain to be some of this in the future.

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