Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Twilight Children #4 Review and *SPOILERS*





All Wrapped Up in a Tidy Little Clusterfuck

Written By: Gilbert Hernandez
Art By: Darwyn Cooke, Dave Stewart
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: January 27, 2016

*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Here were are, at the twilight of Twilight Children. See what I did there? This is the last issue of the miniseries, so it’s like its sun is setting. Which I guess would make this the “dusk” issue. Well it’s dusk on the Unnamed Latin Fishing Village that has been beset by secret government agents and glowing orbs that make people vanish and steal their sight, and our last chance to find out what’s really going on. Because if you’ve been reading this series as I have, then it’s likely that you have a few pertinent questions. For instance: what? Also: how? And furthermore: huh??? The last issue served only to deepen this mystery, and I aim to get some answers, by gum! And there’s only one way you can find out if I did get those answers: read on!


Explain It!

It’s like I tell the kids down at the local orphanage that I read to every week: life is a ceaseless stream of cruel disappointments and heartbreak. This series began so strong, but we do not remember stories most for the way they begin, instead we are more likely to recall the way they end. I wasn’t even going to bother reviewing this book, since I wasn’t feeling too hot about it, but I figure I might as well close it out. And besides, Jim said he was going to break my mother’s legs if I didn’t write this review and fulfill my obligation. I told him I would do the same to his mother, and he laughed and laughed for so long I just had to hang up on him. So let’s get on with this disappointing finale. If you feel lost, don’t worry; it’s not you, it’s the comic book.


We open with a flashback to a time before Bundo became the town drunk and still had a family. Nikolas is skirting around outside his apartment, and then beseeches a glowing orb that he will not return to it, or them, or something, because he has found love in Tito. You’ll recall that Tito is the woman who tries to sleep with almost every man she meets, which is a trait Nikolas seems to endure. In the present day, the one government agent who didn’t have his hands weirdly melted away last issue is asking around town for Ela, the creepy white-haired woman who showed up out of nowhere and seems to have a connection to the glowing orbs that also show up out of nowhere. Got all that? No? Good.


The government agent goes into Nikolas’ clothing shop, where only Tito is working—Nikolas got zapped away with her lover Anton, as well as Bundo the town drunk and some other lady, remember? The agent asks after Ela, and Tito tells him to get lost but can tell he senses that she is hiding Ela, which she is, under a trap door concealed by a rug. Now just wait a minute, didn’t Tito hate Ela last issue? Didn’t she shove her against a wall, nearly knocking her out, and acted like a total bitch when Ela flirted with Felix on the beach? Did I miss an issue here? Tito leaves and locks up the store, so Ela emerges from her hidey hole and starts traipsing about town, you know, as if there isn’t a menacing secret agent looking for her. Felix is preparing to go to the beach to meet Ela, and the agent catches wind of it and starts walking with Felix. Don’t you just hate tag-alongs? While this happens, Tito goes to the sheriff and tells him that Ela will take care of everything, whatever that means, then asks him to fuck her. Wait, wait, wait…she bawled the sheriff out just last issue, for which he handcuffed her and threw her in jail! I mean, is that a good way to get laid? Because if that’s the case, then I’ve been going about things all wrong.


Okay, let’s just wrap this nonsense up: down at the beach, Felix drugs the agent and ties him up. Ela is there and a gigantic orb emerges, which then lights ablaze and the four people who were zapped away in issue #2 return, stark naked. Felix ushers them to safety, and then…I dunno, Ela makes the orb disappear? Maybe? She seems drained, and tells everyone to go back to town, but Felix and Nikolas insist on staying to give her strength for some reason. Back in town, the blind kids’ sight is restored, meanwhile on the beach a few dozen orbs show up and Ela seems really fucked up about it. She tells Felix to go back to town, and he refuses, then she tells Nikolas to stay and advises that the tied-up agent stays too. Ela does…something? And the orbs go bananas and start issuing a bright light that melts the agent and Nikolas down to their skeletons. Felix and Ela embrace, and also seem to be taken away by the bright light. The next day at the village, everything is hunky dory, except that now Tito won’t fuck Anton anymore; she only has eyes for the sheriff. That’s it, next woman I approach is getting put in handcuffs straight away! By way of an epilogue, Bundo either recalls having fun with his family or actually goes back in time, I can’t really say which is which, and to be honest I don’t care enough at this point to try and figure it out.


Darwyn Cooke’s art is still great, though this issue seemed really rushed and compressed, much like the last issue. The writing was awful. The dialogue was stupid. The mysteries revealed themselves to be pointless. This last issue was a really big disappointment, and I dare say it taints the entire series. What a shame.

Bits and Pieces:

You ever bite into some really good food, and you’re like, “Wow! This is really good food! This is the best food I have ever tasted!” And then you take another bite and you’re like, “This is great food. Absolutely stellar. This food should be the benchmark for all other food and foodstuffs.” Then on the third bite, you’re like, “Hmm…this is good food. It might be a little too spicy, though. For me. If you like spicy food then you will definitely love it.” And then on the fourth bite, your food turns into a pelican that bites you on the nose and then tells your co-workers that you LARP on weekends and then gets on a long elevator ride with you and lays the thickest, smelliest fart? That’s what this series is like. Sigh.


4/10
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6 comments:

  1. Great review. I really wanted to like this series, however it got gradually weaker and I felt it no longer warranted the inflated cover price. The art is still great though.

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  3. Just finished all 4 issues in a single sitting and ended my reading session having enjoyed the journey but not recognizing the destination. Oh well. DC may allow Hernandez and Cooke the opportunity to show me the sights in the future - if I'm lucky.

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    1. I think if you take it all in at once, you do get more of a through line--you can see Tito's redemption by choosing the sheriff now that Nikolas is out of the picture, for instance. But there's still a lot of inconsistencies and too many unexplained character actions. I don't mind some nebulousness, but you gotta toss me a couple of bones. Why was Tito suddenly hiding Ela in her store, for example, after being so mean to her previously? I have my own ideas as to why this could be, but it seems like a plot point that should have been examined in story.

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  4. I like the story, the fill in the blanks thing might irk some people but I like stories that allow me to use my imagination. Nikolas is an alien who thinks he's found love in Tito so he tolerates her behavior thinking she'll remain satisfied and stay with him if she sleeps with Anton. Nikolas's homeworld aliens want him back but he won't comply; they're trying to understand the earthlings he has decided to stay with and that's why they keep kidnapping/experimenting on them. Ela is an entity that came to town to counteract the aliens' behavior. She eventually expires her energy in saving earth from the aliens saving those whom she deemed worthy at the end. Tito is jealous of Ela at first but like with everyone who touches Ela comes to understand her purpose. Tito's encounter with Ela is what opens her eyes to the man who cared for her all along, the Sherif.

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  5. Supererah, you are the first person I've found who can offer a plausible explanation for this story. I think you're on to something. Thank you!

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