With it being unclear whether or not The Twilight Zone will continue after JMS’ eventual departure from the series, I found the idea of an annual for the series… strange. Especially with JMS just beginning his second arc of TZ, but here we are with this annual containing three short stories all of which are written by Mark Rahner. Now JMS has been killing it on the main series, but I wasn’t opposed to a new voice given that the original TV series had a steady rotation of writers. If you ask a lot of people to talk about their favorite Twilight Zone episode, more than likely they’ll bring up one of the episodes with a twist ending. Of course the twist ending episode were some of the best and most memorable from the show, but they don’t accurate represent the entirety of the show. Then add in the fact that most of those episodes had a deeper meaning beyond their twist ending and suddenly they’re not just stories going for shock value.
The three stories in this annual are trying to be twist ending stories with deeper meanings, but they fall a little flat. Mostly because they make it too obvious that a twist is coming and it comes from the story structure that Rahner has chosen. All three stories have the same set up: character and their “norm” is introduced, character either falls asleep or closes eyes and wakes up with the world completely changed, but they know how it really is. We’re talking obviously changed too. In the third story it’s not as bad, but then the character makes sure that it’s obvious to the reader fairly quickly.
You would think that part of the problem with the stories is that there weren’t enough pages, but that’s not the case. Each story is suited for its page length and in the case of the last two tales; they both run a page too long. And I don’t mean to make it sound as if they were terrible, because they’re not. All three stories are entertaining and I actually really enjoyed the third story. They were just okay and if it wasn’t Twilight Zone then “okay” might be enough.
The artwork on three stories was fine. There’s a different artist for each tale and each one manages to capture the world and setting. There are also three different colorists and while all three are properly suited for their individual tales, it doesn’t give the book any uniformity. Not that it’s required, but it definitely makes reading more enjoyable when you’re not as distracted by the art changing. That and it would play to the fact that these stories were all happening in essentially the same place… the Twilight Zone.
This is a decent outing. I don’t know if it’s required reading, but if you’re looking for the stereotypical “twist ending” Twilight Zone, then you may be entertained. For me it was more of a window into the world after JMS leaves the series. I’m sure that Dynamite will continue it because they’ll already have a built-in readership, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be successful. If I were them, I would start fielding people now so that we’re not getting a series that’s only focus is the shock value of its endings.
Writer: Mark Rahner Artists: Randy Valiente, Jose Malaga, Edu Menna Colorists: Lisa Moore, Marco Lesko, Sandra Molina Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $4.99 Release Date: 6/11/14 Format: One-Shot, Print/Digital