Friday, 6 March 2015

The Twilight Zone: Shadow & Substance #2 - Dynamite Entertainment

Whilst this second issue of “The Twilight Zone: Shadow And Substance” may well live up to its title’s aspiration for dark morbid thoughts and gloominess. Its storyline is unfortunately devoid of any thought-provoking significance or importance. Indeed this conclusion to “Stumbling Distance” is a disappointingly shallow read, which fails to either address or build upon the tension and mystery of the two-parter’s previous edition. 

Admittedly there are still some nice touches to Mark Rahner’s writing. William Gaunt almost day-dreaming as he watches his younger self ‘playfully prank’ his (presumably now long-deceased) Grandpa by turning on a water hose is a satisfyingly sentimental gesture which many readers, suddenly put in the position of being able to see long-lost loved ones a final time, will probably relate to. His excitement at entering his old bedroom, wall-to-wall with super-hero magazines, posters and drawings, is also something which comic book collectors must regularly fanaticise about experiencing.

But unfortunately that is it as far as any seemingly genuine investment of feeling into the central character goes. An interesting predicament considering the book’s author stressed prior to this periodical’s publication that he was not “interested in lazy nostalgia.” Yet this is arguably precisely what he has written.

Gaunt also knows full well how badly his Mother hurt him emotionally as a youth; why else would he have tried to commit suicide as a boy? Yet when he confronts her upon her doorstep in an effort to make her “understand what you’re doing to him” the time-traveller limits himself to a simple “Shape up. Get yourself straight. Look after him” speech. This woman’s neglect and behaviour towards him caused the man to once try and end his life, and that is all he has to say to her? Where’s the anger, the fury, the fire in the belly towards her which surely has built up over the years since his failed attempt to slit his wrists?

Most regrettable however has to be the book’s ending, which is illogical or at best dubiously questionable. Gaunt knows his younger self will survive his self-harm and in fact use that pain, anxiety and frustration to not only become a successful writer but also, as the story constantly shows, a caring, sympathetic and kind adult. So why would he steal a car, become presumably penniless and encourage self-evaporation in order to stop the boy from doing something “dumb”?

This supposed “new extension of the Twilight Zone mythos” is additionally underwhelming as a result of some quite simply terrible drawings by Edu Menna. If the awkward-looking, frankly ugly and rather robotic looking characters are examples of the ‘artistic freedom’ Nick Barrucci, Publisher of “Dynamite Entertainment”, has apparently given the Mexican illustrator, then the company’s CEO needs to have a little rethink. Certainly Menna’s uninspiring pencils, let down by some equally lack-lustre colouring by Thiago Ribbeiro and Impacto Studios, are incapable of delivering the “all-new thrills” promised when news regarding this title was first released.
The regular cover art of "THE TWILIGHT ZONE: SHADOWS & SUBSTANCE" No. 2 by Guiu Vilanova

No comments:

Post a Comment