“THE TWILIGHT ZONE #1” (Comic Book Review)Book and Comic Reviews,Books/Art/Culture,News Svetlana Fedotov
THE TWILIGHT ZONE has been a staple of horror ever since its inception back in the late 1950’s. Influencing everyone from Iron Maiden to THE SIMPSONS to our very own Editor-in-Chief Chris Alexander, the show has catapulted itself as a go-to terror for anyone who craves a bit of the strange. And considering its long and sordid history, it’s no surprise that the seminal series would once again find its way into comic books. Launching a brand new series, THE TWILIGHT ZONE #1 brings back that old school vibe while updating itself for the modern era, eagerly inviting new readers to its pages.
The sixth incantation of the TWILIGHT ZONE comics starts off strong with a part one of a two-part story arc. The comic opens up on one Mr. Gaunt, a tired man on a tiring trip to his old and tired town. Having hit it big in the writers market, Gaunt is on his way back to his hometown for a signing and regretting everything about it. Little does he know, he’s about to enter… THE TWILIGHT ZONE.
Once in the town, he slowly realizes things are a little off. Cars are wider, hair is bigger, and everyone is wearing fantastically out-of-fashion bell bottoms. Before he even processes his surroundings, he quickly spots a kid who looks strangely like himself at that age and the realization hits him like a ton of bricks. Not only has Mr. Gaunt returned home figuratively, but literally all the way back home in the ’70s, forcing him to face demons he long left behind.
The first issue, like the overall TWILIGHT ZONE atmosphere, is subtle in scares but huge in presentation. Focusing more on the psychological frights and build-up rather than “hack/slash” gore, the comic truly feels like one is reading an extension of Serling’s ZONE universe. Gaunt’s slow but inevitable acceptance of something being just not right in his surroundings works well for the format without falling into the “talking heads” trap of round-about speech bubbles. He doesn’t simply mutter throughout the whole issue, but explores the town and his old stomping grounds as he attempts to put some sort of semblance of sanity to what he is seeing. Each person he meets reveals another aspect of himself that he had either forgotten or wished to better; a common theme of regret and betterment that is regularly seen in the show as well.
The author, Mark Rahner, masterfully takes his love of the original work and translates it onto the page via Gaunt’s slow descent into desperation. A veteran of adapting other older works for Dynamite Press, Rahner takes his trademark attention to detail and smooth dialogue and kicks it up a notch to create a work that is not only entertaining, but leaves the reader scrambling for more. The art, on the other hand, while not the most spectacular work, does do a decent job of conveying the story. The inking tends to get a bit splotchy and the figures ARE a tad stiff, but it’s not so much as to be a distraction.
Overall, the new TWILIGHT ZONE series starts strong and finishes with a heck of a cliffhanger; teasing at a strange and chaotic universe just out of our reach. This is indeed a perfect companion piece for the TWILIGHT ZONE fandom.