One of my favorite television shows growing up was The Twilight Zone. Rod Serling, in five seasons of some of the most well written television ever, created a golden standard of what television could attain and has not reached too often since. Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, To Serve Man, Time Enough At Last, The Eye of the Beholder. Episodes of a television show that is over fifty years old now that still resonate today. To say that The Twilight Zone helped inspire countless other writers, artists, filmmakers, etc is an understatement.
Which led me to this comic. I am quite familiar with J. Michael Straczynski through his work on the groundbreaking science fiction show Babylon 5. What I didn’t realize until after that show was over was the fact that his reach in entertainment stretched far beyond that show. Two cartoons I grew up on, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and the Real Ghostbusters each had major contributions from him. Now he’s a highly sought after writer whether in comics, television, or movies having recently helped with the creation of the show Sense8 on Netflix. I couldn’t wait to see what he could bring to The Twilight Zone.
This was a fast read. Keep in mind when reading this that this issue will fly by quite fast without it seeming to move much at all. The story in question is part one of a multi-story arc, the ending of which is a bit of a twist to entice you to read issue two. It’s all setup for what comes later.
That is not necessarily a bad thing. However I did find myself wanting to get the story moving. Reading the next issues I’m sure will make my impatience dissipate but I did not like the initial start of this story. Thinking back I guess you can say that The Twilight Zone did take its time to build up to the ending but I guess being that this is a comic, a story told in multiple parts one issue per month, I wanted a little more meat to entice me to read further. The last page was great because it was a bit of a shock which made me say whoa. I think there could have been more effort to move the story along.
The artwork was pretty decent. The artist didn’t fall into the trap that modern comic artists seem to have of making their work appear intentionally sloppy. It has a nice realistic feel you’d expect for a comic like this.
Again the story is pure setup. By the end of this particular story a few issues down the line I’m sure I will be satisfied with the result but this first issue was dull. It set up the life of a character you really don’t care about. A dick who is bored with life and is about to be indicted after stealing money from his investors finds a way to escape without any responsibility. In today’s world that is not going to elicit much response apart from rich assholes who will probably be taking notes as to how they could possibly pull it off. Mr. Straczynski could have done better in making you care for what was going on throughout the meat and bones of the story, not just entice you to read the next issue with a surprise on the last page.
While I had no problem with the artwork per se, it really didn’t seem inspired. The artist also likes to draw everything in shadow. Maybe that’s to bring into account the dark nature of what is going on but it did kind of muddle up what you were seeing on the page. You get the idea that this was created more on an assembly line and not from someone truly inspired by the story they are drawing for.
You have to know what you’re getting into when you read this. If you’re expecting a fully fleshed out story here you will be sorely disappointed. It is the first piece of a puzzle that will take a few issues to roll out. With that in mind this first piece is not that bad. But I have to think about the fact that this is an art form that is released once a month. If I had bought this issue in the store I probably would not have wanted to buy issue number two. For that, I have to give the story a 4. The artwork is serviceable. It’s not bad but unlike other comics this just comes across as cookie cutter art. The Superman story I reviewed, the Last Son of Krypton, had the rushed sloppy look that I don’t care for but the artist was good enough to convey the spirit of the films which that comic was sort of a spiritual sequel to. This artwork did not bring me into Rod Serling’s world. For that, I give it a three. Despite the harsh review I still think it is worth your time to read as long as you have the complete story to read and not having to go through any sort of wait for each next issue.
One more thing before I leave. I was able to read this story thanks to a new app I discovered called ComicsFix. It’s another Netflix for Comics similar in vein to Marvel Unlimited that have issues from Valiant Comics and Dynamite Comics. In terms of selection, the Marvel app beats it hands down. But the fact that this app offers you the chance to read comics from someplace other than DC or Marvel is worth it’s price of admission. I’m currently reading a great series from Garth Ennis called Red Team which I strongly recommend.