I missed out on reviewing the first issue of The Twilight Zone, but I made sure that the second issue didn’t escape me. Like most people who have an appreciation for film, TV and the art of storytelling; I really like Twilight Zone. It not only introduced me to some of my favorite writers, but it’s a show I can watch over and over and be amused by or find something new to appreciate. It’s also something I don’t believe can be captured again; the formula and the era in which it was set in made it what it is. That and if you pay attention to the series you’ll see that it grows and changes as time moves on and was never locked into one formula. That said I was hesitant going into this comic book. I enjoy J. Michael Straczynski’s writing quite a lot and he rarely lets me down, but how would he do on one of my most beloved TV shows of all time? Well… he does a damn good job.
The reason this works is that he takes a different approach. He doesn’t try to make it like the TV show wrapping his story up in the first issue and starting another. That approach hasn’t worked for the TV reboots so why would it work in a comic? Thankfully Straczynski is looking to tell one story and he’s breaking it up into issues. This makes it longer by nature and really that’s exactly what this franchise needs if it’s going to strive in the modern era of storytelling.
We’re a culture that has been spoiled on dramatic sci-fi stories that have spent an entire season to reveal one mystery or even an entire series, so it stands to reason that we’ve become accustomed to a longer build up to our stories. If you look at a lot of the old episodes of the TV show there were more like single scenes in a larger story and that larger story was just the universe of The Twilight Zone. Unless the same approach is taken it stands to reason that Straczynski’s approach is the best modern approach to it.
In the first issue we met Trevor Richmond, a man basically without a conscious. He underwent a medical treatment that literally changed the way he looks making him unrecognizable to the rest of the world. The reason he did this was to hide from his former life in which he embezzled money and stole from the investors for his own personal gain. Just as the hammer was coming down on him and the company he worked for, he went through the change and disappeared.
Now a free man he’s watching the mess he’s created play out, but something he didn’t expect happened… he showed up. By that I mean someone who looks like him, talks like him and is 100% recognized as him. A man going by his name shows up and accepts the consequences of Trevor’s actions. This shocks him and confuses him. He heads back to the organization that gave him the treatment that changed him and questions why they allowed someone to replace him.
There are too many great scenes in this comic book to tell you anymore, but it’s really a fantastic issue. I enjoyed the first issue, but this issue in particular captured the feeling of The Twilight Zone and made me crave more.
Straczynski’s writing is perfectly paced for the story. Much like the show he balances the issue with just the right amount of action and intensity with terrific character moments. When Trevor talks to Mr. Wylde it’s a scene that stays with you. If Mr. Wylde were an actor it would have been a hell of a performance it’s that damn good. Straczynski has Guiu Vilanova to thank for that.
Vilanova’s style is fits the story. There’s a very classic vibe to the style, but overall it’s brings out the best of the story. The character's emotions are believable and pour out from the page. I really enjoyed the opening page with Trevor looking up at himself on the TV screen with a diagonal gutter cutting across the page. It’s crazy because it illustrates the visual differences between the two men, but at the same time it still feels as if you’re looking at a stranger as well. That’s incredible to pull of considering it’s a comic and Vilanova has to draw Trevor the same each time. It’s a terrific first page and the rest of the issue only gets better from there.
I saw online that a lot of people enjoyed the first issue and I’m definitely right there with them. I was very cautious going into this series and now I can’t get enough. I really do wish that they had finished the entire story and released it weekly to give it a TV feeling, but I’ll take what I can get at this point. If you like the original show or even just great story telling then definitely check out this series from the beginning and do not miss this issue.
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski Artist: Guiu Vilanova Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/5/14