Dynamite Entertainment returns with another The Twilight Zone mini-series. Like the Twilight Zone television episodes of the ’80s, this series seems a bit familiar.
Previously in The Twilight Zone: “There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears, and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call … The Twilight Zone.”
Writer William Gaunt is a man on his way to his hometown, a place he hasn’t been to in years due to bad expereinces. And yet, when he returns home, it is exactly like he remembers it – right out of the ’70s. Not out of the ’70s, but rather, THE ’70s. Seems as though Mr. Gaunt has crossed over into the Twilight Zone, and he ends up visiting himself when he was 12.
Time travel stories are always a big hook for me, and in Shadow and Substance #1, Gaunt gets the chance to interact with himself at a young age, and possibly influence his future self. Though we don’t find out what the big tragedy in his life was, the cliffhanger of the issue means that he has entered his own life at a pivotal point.
If this story seems rather familiar to you, the original Twilight Zone series had an episode called Walking Distance about a man who traveled back in time and met himself. Writer Mark Rahner is keenly aware of this as the title to this chapter is “Stumbling Distance”. There have been two revivals of the Twilight Zone, the first in the ’80s, then again in the early 2000s that often retold tales from the classic series. Because of this, and the fact that the story elements seem to be a radical departure from the source material, I’m more than okay with Mr. Rhaner’s take on this story as it seems fresh and familiar at the same time.
ART COULD BE BETTER
When it comes to comic book art, I’m quick to criticize when I see things out of place. More often than not, Dynamite Entertainment ends up being in my crosshairs for a couple of reasons; first, I like reading the books the company puts out, and second because I have grown so used to their house style, that it makes it easy to spot problems. In this issue there are a lot of problems. For example, the main character looks radically different from page to page and panel to panel. A slender nose turns into a flattened honker that looks like he’s been brawling in the ring for years. The mom goes from thin to chubby in just a few panels, his younger self looks Asian, and at times it looks like the central character is modeled on Liam Neeson before flipping back to “generic guy”.
BOTTOM LINE: STAY FOR THE STORY
At times interpretations of a theme or story can rub me the wrong way. Here, not so much. I actually want to see what horrific event occurred in Gaunt’s past, and if his interference makes things worse, or changes things for the better. The art is a big pass for me. If the art had been more consistent I would have a better opinion of it. Overall, I like this take on the trip down memory lane trope and if you are a fan of classic Twilight Zone, this issue will be right up your alley.