Part of the wonder of comic books, especially indie comics is that anything is possible. There is of course the probability that a comic will be about a tights-wearing, caped-crackpot but there are no rules requiring this. Honest. So when creators let their imaginations go buck-wild, the reader has the potential to discover some new and interesting worlds. Inquest of Missing Time is pretty far out there, somewhere between The Brothers Grimm/Fables, Disney and Delicatessen.
Inquest of Missing Time #1 is a really strange 17 page tale of a elderly woman preparing and serving a really detailed and very gross last meal to a family of twisted orphans as they 3-Stooges each other around the dinner table. This first issue is certainly a teaser and while it definitely sets up an original story, I’m not sure that it’s enough to keep me coming back for seconds. It’s fun(ny) and quirky and twisted but at the same time that it tells a lot, it feels like it shows me very little. Now, that’s not to say that the art isn’t good – the story is just a little strange to digest on a first sitting. The writing of Inquest of Missing Time was a little rushed to present more courses in this first issue than are necessary to capture and keep readers. All of this causes an art style that I really enjoyed to have cluttered and sometimes difficult to comprehend pages.
Bashar Sawalha picks up much of the creative jobs on Inquest of Missing Time, doing double duty as co-writer and predominant artist handling penciling, inking and some of the coloring. While the coloring is exceptional, making the art pop and adding to flavor to the twisted tale, the panel layout sometimes becomes a little cluttered and difficult to read. The general page layout and the experimentation of panel format are equally as fun as the story but there are often too many panels per page and some of the panels do not flow easily for a story that is already over-the-top. Much, maybe all of this could be made better if Sawalha was not in such a hurry to tell so much fun story. The talent invested in Inquest of Missing Time is as a generally notion very good and the story is certainly unique but the writing needs to slow down just a little so as not to lose its readers.