Titan’s “Quest for the Time Bird” offers a questionable take on the Frodo-esque quest to thwart impending calamity. It’s an episodic reboot of the 1950s original black and white book, translated from French.
In the opening episode we meet Pelisse, the red-headed, generously endowed daughter of the Sorceress Mara, who takes off in grandiose fashion to track down an old knight named Bragon. Pelisse finds Bragon and his underlings as they struggle to fight off an enormous bear-like creature with enormous front teeth (kinda looks like a bear-beaver crossed with a black leopard), single-handedly takes the beast down, and bullies the old knight into taking on her mother’s quest to find a magical bird with the ability to stop time. All this, Pelisse explains, is to prevent a fallen god from escaping his prison (which is a rather sinister-looking conch shell) and destroying the world.
The first few pages of the first episode imply Pelisse has a lot more agency in the story than she actually does, which is by far the biggest issue I have with the book. I was cheering for her when she took down the bear-leopard guy, even willing to forgive how they’ve drawn her nearly bursting out of her clothes. We get it: she has a huge rack and the male characters in the book never fail to point that out. But as soon as the scene with the bear-leopard monster is over, Pelisse is next to useless. Her character has graduated from stereotypical to exaggerated and ridiculous. She’s the first person we meet, she brings the whole quest to light, and actually possesses quite a bit of power we hardly ever get to see her actually use…and yet she’s there expressly to serve as the butt of a boob joke every other page she either doesn’t understand or isn’t there to hear. Really?
The story isn’t bad: there’s great tension in the background due to the fact that they only have eight days to find the time bird or everything goes to shit, and those huge stakes are that classic genre staple readers look for. The art style was messy and expressive, which added to the overall feel. Bragon was the right mix of ornery old man and seasoned warrior as well. I enjoyed the scene with the dancing river imp who stumps Bragon with a riddle and teaches him a lesson in pride. There are redeeming qualities, but the trivialization of the main heroine ruined “Time Bird” for me in a way I was really hoping wouldn’t happen.