Hopefully you stuck with this title up to now, because Hickman starts bringing several plot points together right here! The Illuminati has come up with a way to not only halt the world-destroying conversions, but also a permanent way to end the Cabal, as well. However, Hickman makes it very plain that regardless of who saves the day, Steve Rogers is not letting the Illuminati members go free when it’s over. And remember when Black Panther put Namor on notice that he would deal with him for destroying Wakanda? Well, it seems as if that time is now, but the good guys still have some world saving to do first.
Seeing the heroes like this has been some of the best storytelling involving these characters in some time. Though not at odds like in Civil War, but with the stakes this high, Hickman definitely makes you feel the weight of everyone’s actions. Now, the fact all of the teams actually decide to just talk it out here is both welcome and confusing. The Illuminati definitely feel like the ends justify the means, and the entire conflict comes to a point where you’re forced to see how they might be justified. But why wait until Earth has two hours left to bring this plan to the others?
The tension between the teams is enough to satisfy any fan, especially when the dialogue is this good! I have to say that Cap asking T’Challa to turn himself in was almost as hilarious as Cannonball and Sunspot chiding Beast. The moments of levity are very rare here, but really help to break up the threats and arguing while staying true to who certain characters really are. Those worried that we would continue to only get lip service from T’Challa will be happy to know that the confrontation between Black Panther and Namor doesn’t disappoint at all! Hickman even pulls this off with a few surprises.
Caselli’s talents are displayed throughout the issue, adding the visual weight necessary to move this story and make it look as good as it does. There is a large portion of the book where the characters are debating and just discussing the matter at hand. Caselli makes these moments very big, and pulls every ounce of drama he can with his detailed work. Frank Martin’s colors are just as good, as he brings out what’s needed to assist Caselli’s art. That tense moment between Steve and T’Challa is probably the best three panels in the issue because of these talented artists. The only complaint I have is in regards to how Steve is depicted here as opposed to other issues. In this title he’s looking like the most fit 80-year-old ever to exist. However, in most other titles, he’s on a cane and looking like your average, everyday grandfather. The only consistent visual cue is the liver spots. It doesn’t take away from the overall look, but if you’re reading other titles that feature Steve it is slightly off putting.
Time Runs Out has been a slow burn, but it’s worth the time if you want to see what will build up to the upcoming Secret Wars event. The cloak and dagger aspect along with all of the twists and surprises have been cleverly pulled off by Hickman, and you’ll be on the edge of your seat to see what is coming next!