Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Twilight Zone: Shadow & Substance #3 - Dynamite Entertainment

Despite a seemingly desperate attempt by Mark Rahner to capture the mystery and futuristic tone of the Sixties science fiction television series with his writing for this story, “Jailbreak” is unfortunately a rather bland, uninspiring and dissatisfying read for the entirety of its twenty-pages. Indeed it is extremely doubtful that Rod Serling’s Colombia Broadcasting System sensation would have run for five seasons if the show’s episodes had been as dull and uninteresting as the exploits of this comic’s dislikable space prisoner-of-war.

Admittedly there’s a suggestion of the unusual in the book’s beginning, as the reader is introduced to Lee, “a rocker of boats and upsetter of apple carts”, who appears to be a newly arrived inmate of a “little community” prison run by unknown ‘invisible’ aliens. But sadly the plot which follows contains none of the intensity or edginess which the creator of “The Twilight Zone” appeared to so readily create week after week for his viewing audience. 

Instead the reader must endure a lacklustre tale of a ‘mystery’ man wandering around a maze-like settlement, and becoming increasingly irritated by the apathy of his fellow prisoners towards their ‘godlike’ extraterrestrial captors. Vintage television programmes, books, ‘seriously good tasting food’ and even sexual relationships are all offered to the “malcontent” in order to try and appease his desire to escape confinement… and though he dallies with a couple of these distractions the “irritant” unsurprisingly decides to escape and gets beaten up by his fellow captives as a result.

Little of this actually makes any sense… and no explanation is forthcoming as to how Lee or any of the other detainees were abducted, nor just why his compatriots would be so easily mollified by old TV shows, free shoes, and weird-looking glowing sponges which you can eat? In fact anyone perusing this issue would actually need to read the publisher’s advertisement for the comic book to realise that Lee’s jail is actually for P.O.W.s from a space war because such explanatory detail is simply not found within the magazine's narrative.

Just as substandard is Edu Menna’s clumsily drawn artwork. There is an incredible stiffness and jerkiness to the movements of the Mexican artist’s characters, and a total lack of consistency regarding their facial features. This is especially true of the penciller’s illustrations of Lee, who as the central focus of the story is shown lurching from one anatomically implausible pose to another as the pointless plot unfolds.
The regular cover art of "THE TWILIGHT ZONE: SHADOWS & SUBSTANCE" No. 3 by Guiu Vilanova

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