Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Twilight Children #3 Review and *SPOILERS*

The Fast-Paced World of Sleepy Fishing Villages

Written By: Gilbert Hernandez
Art By: Darwyn Cooke, Dave Stewart
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: December 9, 2015

*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Ahh, I waited all month for a chance to return to that unnamed Latin fishing village from Twilight Children so I could sink my toes into the sand and sip a mental mojito. Sure, weird glowing orbs appear and disappear at will, and sometimes they render children blind, and also sometimes they zap people away in a beam of light, but dude—it’s like pennies to the dollar down there. I got a dozen rainbow trout fillets for ten bucks! I also copped an “I saw the glowing orbs from Twilight Children and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” t-shirt for twenty bucks but it was totally worth it because there’s some freaky shit happening in this village, so I guess what I’m saying is can you wire me like sixty bucks and I’ll pay you back when I get over the border? What? You want to know what’s been happening in this weirdo place? Read on!

Explain It!

Seems since four people were vaporized and Ela the strange white-haired Uma Thurman-looking woman showed up, things have been developing rapidly at the fishing village. Tito and the visiting scientist, who is apparently named Felix, are stumbling around the town with memory problems, wondering about Tito’s husband and her lover, plus the village drunk Bundo and the other lady who got zapped away last issue. A couple of very conspicuous secret agents posing as tourists are asking a bunch of questions about the strange goings-on about town, but the people they press genuinely seem not to recall what has been happening. Only the sheriff seems on the ball around here, enough to tell the two agents in Hawaiian shirts to stay the hell out of his way. Ela the white-haired wispy lady is standing around all creepy-like, and Tito yells at her for being too cute…then curiously seems to forget she even said anything or that she has any feelings towards Ela at all.

Later, Felix proves that actually does have brains because he wants to get the fuck out of that crazy village. Tito begs and pleads with him not to go, afraid that she will die old and alone, which frankly sounds pretty clingy to me. She stalls his exit by having sex with him, which always works, and Ela eavesdrops from the rooftop. This slip of a woman is freaking me out more than Freddy Kreuger did when I was twelve years old. Things start happening really rapidly now, the panel layout becomes a fairly static grid and talking heads are exchanging a lot of dialogue. Now Ela cries in front of the secret agents and freezes them in place. Then a doctor touches the agents and he is frozen. Then Felix touches the doctor and he is frozen. Meanwhile, Tito mouths off to the sheriff and she gets thrown in cuffs. The tight plotting does make everything a lot more frenetic and tense, but it seems like the story is being compressed too much. When he thinks Tito’s cooled down, the sheriff lets her out of her cuffs, when she prompty strides over to Ela and shoves her against a wall, dazing her pretty good.

While she is dazed, the frozen quartet unfreeze, and we see the four missing people reappear on the beach, naked as jaybirds, and then zap away in the same fashion that they initially did, except this time at the group rate. Right about now, Felix really figures he should get the flying fuck out of there, but on his way he is accosted by a woman and her blind son, who we saw dancing and laughing with Ela earlier in the issue. The kid tells Felix that the woman talks to him through his hands, and Felix goes all W.C. Fields and shoves past the kid to get the hell out of Dodge. Tito appears and tries to convince Felix to stay, and when he won’t she pretends he’s beating her so the sheriff will come over and arrest him. Later, the sheriff arrests one of the fake tourist agents for pulling a gun on him, and the other agent is about to shoot the sheriff in the back but then both of his fucking hands burn away in a glowing orb of light. Would someone please explain to me just what in tarnation is going on around here?

That evening, Felix is hanging out in jail when he notices the door is open. He goes outside to find the entire town milling about in the street, looking like they just drank eight ounces of NyQuil apiece. They mumble some stuff at Felix, but he takes off for the beach with Ela because, well, let’s not be stupid here. She says some cryptic stuff while Tito looks on angrily. Ela explains that she is there to save them from an advancing threat, the true cause of the disappearances and other general freakiness, which is probably when Felix realizes she’s not going to let him feel her up tonight.

I can’t imagine that you would jump on to this book for the penultimate issue, but if you did you’d be interminably lost. It really feels like this was meant to be a five- or six-issue series, or that the whole thing wasn’t plotted out at once, because this issue is just jam-packed with quick cuts and lots of back-and-forth dialogue, and very few of the establishing shots I was cooing over in the last two issues. Story-wise, it is very interesting and we get a lot of answers and a couple more questions this issue. And Darwyn Cooke’s art—though it seems a bit uncharacteristically sparse in some places—is always enjoyable to look at. But this issue was devoid of the whole tone that the first two issues had, and it was a little difficult for me to adjust to.

Bits and Pieces:

The usual relaxed, Twin Peaks style vibe of the book gives way to a tension-filled offering of slender panels and wordy platitudes. The mystery has ratcheted up a notch, and the formulaic plotting does create a sense of high-paced action, but it was a little much to get accustomed to so near the end of this four-part story. Darwyn Cooke’s art and Dave Stewart’s colors are as capable as always, but they seem constrained and limited in the space provided by these jam-packed pages. If you’ve gone this far, you’ll want to see this tale to its conclusion. But this issue was definitely a disappointment in and of itself.

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