Review: Futurama The Time Bender Trilogy

Published on March 1st, 2011

I thought that after last week’s Trade Tuesday, which featured Daytripper, it might be appropriate to feature a book that’s a little bit more lighthearted. What better book than everyone’s favorite book based on an animated television show about life in the year 3000, or so? I’m talking about Futurama, of course. That’s right, Bongo Comics doesn’t just do The Simpsons, it’s also been doing the Futurama comic book since before the show was canceled. Written by Ian Boothby, with pencils by James Lloyd and John Delaney, this four issue trilogy follows the Planet Express crew as they screw up history through accidental time travel.

bendertrilogyAfter Professor Farnsworth attends a parent teacher meeting for his clone, Cubert, the Professor learns that Cubert has gone from a super genius, to merely a genius. Well, the Professor won’t stand for this, so he decides that Cubert will have to go to boarding school to bring up his grades. Fry, Leela, and Bender are then given the task to take Cubert to several schools so that he can decide which one he’ll attend. After a few hilarious choices, Cubert settles on a school on a distant planet that will take any student, despite age, race, or intelligence. Cubert then tricks the Planet Express Crew into enrolling at the school as well. Fry, Leela, and Bender are forced to relive the horrors of school again, until Leela accidentally triggers a supernova on the sun. The only way to save the school is for the crew to get expelled and then tow the school off the planet using bike chains.

When they return to Earth, they are shocked to learn that the Professor has accidentally transported every person on Earth to the time of the dinosaurs while experimenting on Chronitons. The only way to rescue the people of Earth is for the crew to get the Professor’s emergency time travel device that has been broken into four pieces. Farnsworth has one of the pieces, but he needs the other three sent back to him through the time vortex. Unfortunately, Bender had tied the vortex in a knot to keep Einstein from getting into their time. This made the vortex unstable, which caused it to break into three pieces and suck each crew member into a different time.

Bender, Fry, and Leela then find themselves in an alternate version of the past due to the time stream being completely messed up. Bender is in the time of the Salem Witch trials, that are now trying robots since they ran out of witches to burn. Leela is left in the times of the Greek Gods that don’t take too kindly to her claiming that they do not exist. And Fry is fighting for his life in 1915 during Worlds War I where Earth is forced to defend themselves from the Omicronian Empire. After saving the Earth with his stupidity, Fry is reunited with Leela after knocking over an ice sculpture that she’s been frozen in for centuries. Bender was able to escape the Robot Burnings of Salem because robots don’t burn. Afterwards, Bender simply lived out his life until meeting Fry and Leela by chance.

They still have a world to save, but luckily Bender is able to locate the remains of The Professor in a nearby museum and the fourth piece of the time machine that’s been in his pocket. The time machine is then reassembled and the crew goes to prehistoric times where Fry and the time machine are swallowed by a Tyrannosaurus. Hermes then feeds the Professor to the T-Rex so that he can activate the machine and send everyone back to the future!

After Futurama was canceled those many years ago, I became very grateful for the comic book keeping the characters alive, which I think had a hand in getting the show back on TV. Overall, I think the comic book is written well and you can easily imagine the voices from the show while reading the comic book. It’s great to be able to read this while waiting for new episodes. The artists do a great job keeping the book in the same style as the cartoon as well. If you’re a fan of Futurama, and I can’t possibly imagine why you wouldn’t be, you’ll love the comic book. The Time Bender Trilogy is one of my favorite Futurama comics and if you want your own copy hurry up and get to Amazon because as of right now they’re selling this book, brand new, for under ten bucks!

Ken Zeider