A sure sign that this Twilight Zone reboot is here to stay, Dynamite offers a giant sized one-shot this month which it hopes will leave readers begging for more. And it almost does — almost.
Here’s the official word from Dynamite:
Three new tales of the strange and unsettling by Mark Rahner (Twilight Zone Annual, Dejah of Mars)! A former terrorism detainee hunts down the ailing politician who authorized his torture – to deliver a very special gift. Tensions boil over on a space ship whose mission is to terraform a new planet, which happens to be occupied already. A tech mogul tries on his new smart-glasses prototype, and discovers an unexpected feature: he can see people’s souls.
Most geeks already know what to expect from any comic with the Twilight Zone masthead — a morality tale with a bit of horror, a bit of sci-fi, and an abrupt pivot that (ideally) will make your skin crawl. And for the most part Dynamite’s newest efforts to revive this formula has worked — J. Michael Straczynski has penned previous issues and he’s got a knack for capturing the creepiness one would expect of this title. But if Straczynski’s major sin has been trying to force multiple issue arcs for a title that’s known for being pithy, then Mark Rahner, the writer of this one-shot collection, goes too far in the opposite direction — the stories in this volume are just too darn short to be effective. Yes, the premise of each story is unique and offers the readers a quick glimpse into a world that could be eerie if you cared deeply about the characters — but there’s the rub. With such compact stories, all Rahner has time for is the set-up. We see the monkey paw, and the spaceship, and the special glasses, but gone is the opportunity to really understand (or care) about the emotions at stake for each of Rahner’s individual characters (although his middle story comes close). Given this, Rahner’s stories feel like sketches rather than fully developed gems.
The art of each story is provided by a different author: Randy Valiente, Edu Menna, and Rod Rodolfo. Of the three Valiente and Rodolfo are the most “classically” comic book, meaning the paneling, expressions, and gestures of the characters work well with the story at hand and sometimes offer insights that the script does not. That said, Menna’s work is the most textured and playful — there’s some unique paneling work and a texture to the art that makes it a visual treat to look at it.
While I love this title overall, this particular one-shot was more undercooked than I had hoped. But there’s always next month….