In Review: The Twilight Zone #11

The curtain is about to fall on all the characters and no one looks to escape the Twilight Zone unscathed.

The cover: I have no clue who this is on the cover, looking as if he’s going to be shot by a soldier. The man in yellow looks nothing like any character in this issue, nor does this scene occur. Francesco Francavilla either wasn’t given enough information to do this cover or didn’t care. A waste no matter how you look at it. Overall grade: F

The story: I’ve raved over the previous issues and I’m still raving. J. Michael Straczynski continues to have his characters crossing each others’ paths as they travel through their own sections of the Twilight Zone. Roy Chambers was hired by the father of John Black to find someone expendable to take the place of his dead son. He doesn’t feel qualified to choose another life to die for his employer. His own life hasn’t been great, he shares with a woman he cares for, and he doesn’t want to end up like his father. “It was like the wind took away his name and his past and his future…Took away everything he was ever gonna be or say or do. It was as though he never existed.” Roy makes a decision and he races against time, literally, to make a difference. Page 15 has him wearing his heart on his sleeve in a one page scene that would be the envy of any actor to play. Next month is the final issue and Roy Chambers’s fate will be decided. Outstanding. Overall grade: A+

The art: I’ve been as pleased with the artwork on this book as I’ve been pleased with the story. Guiu Vilanova is an exceptional artist. His work is highly realistic to the point where a reader would think they’ve passed one of his characters on the street. The individuals Vilanova has created emote wonderfully. Roy is confused, angry, hopeful, and pleading — he runs the entire emotional spectrum. Those he encounters are equally strong, with Mr. Black being a standout on Pages 7 and 8. Unlike the current trend of some artists using photographs for backgrounds, Vilanova is fully illustrating his settings and his work looks all the better. Strong settings include the diner, Mr. Black’s, and the park. Vilanova is an artist to follow. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Complementing the exceptional artwork is the coloring by Vinicius Andrade. He’s got a really good eye for where a reader’s focus should be drawn through colors. Notice how the youngest child is highlighted in the first panel on Page 1. In the fourth panel a calming blue is used to allow focus to fall on a woman and warm reds are used to emphasize love, cementing her safety. The neon on Page 2 is great, with the coloring in the background on the third and fourth panels continuing the lighting effects. Colors are used to show Roy’s transitions between locations. After a few trips, readers know what’s coming based on the colors. Excellent. Overall grade: A+

The letters: The superb Rob Steen supplies narration and dialogue. I also believe he provided background signage (Page 2) and text on a leaflet. No sounds are needed for this installment, so don’t think for a minute Steen is slipping. In fact, he’s one of the rare letterers who’s smart enough to provide a distinction between narration and dialogue. Overall grade: A+

The final line: The curtain is about to fall on all the characters and no one looks to escape the Twilight Zone unscathed. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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