How Dynamite's Twilight Zone #11 Took Me Back to Childhood

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Twilight Zone #11

Twilight Zone #11

J. Michael Straczynski (writer)

Guiu Vilanova (artist)

Francesco Francavilla ©

Dynamite Entertainment

(Rod Serling voiceover): “A busy day. A man sits at a desk. With too much to do, and not enough time to do it in the previous weeks, he finally has time to relax for a moment and ponder what he should have for lunch. Also, in the subconscious of his mind, the question of how he should spend the money he received for Christmas gnaws on him without him realizing it. What should he finally spend his cash on? The answer lies in an unexpected email...”

I remember when I was a kid. I remember snap shots of my childhood. I remember some great memories, and some that were not so great. But sometimes, memories fell into both categories, and I’ve always been kind of conflicted on how to feel about them.

One of my most distinct memories that could be best described as “conflicting” was of me sitting on the living room floor next to my Dad’s leg while I watched a black and white television show involving a man who saw a gremlin on the wing of the airliner. I was simultaneously thrilled to be watching television with my Dad (I couldn’t have been older than 5 or 6), and utterly confident that no sleep would be had that night.

I was terrified. 

I was frozen.

I was… in love. This was my first exposure to science fiction of any kind. I had so many questions that I couldn’t express myself to ask that I replayed the episode over and over in my head for the next several years. My mother noticed how frightened I was after watching this episode, and I never watched that black and white show again. In fact, it wasn’t until I was 18 or 19 years old that I even discovered the name of that show, “The Twilight Zone”.

Recently, Netflix has begun airing all of the episodes of “The Twilight Zone.” My two sons, aged 10 and 5, actually walked in while I was watching the episode “Time Enough at Last.” Not being a particularly frightening episode, I decided to let it run and gauge their reaction. They ALSO love the old television show, and when we all get spare time together, it’s not uncommon to run downstairs and turn on a random episode.

So today, while being wholly unproductive, I received an email from our beloved publisher that said something along the lines of, “Hey, we received the latest from Dynamite Entertainment if anyone wants to check them out.” Being a comic book fan, I decided to check out the list to see if there was anything I wanted to add to my pull list at the local comic shop. The very first title I spotted made my blood run cold and my eyes grow wide. “The Twilight Zone, #11.”

In a rush, all of the old nostalgia came crashing back like hurricane force waves over a rowboat. My first reaction was surprise that I hadn’t heard of this new series. But my second reaction was anger. Too many times we’ve seen an established franchise be butchered by “reimaginings” and “updates.”  All too often we’ve seen hack writers put spins on products that should have been left alone.

My friends, I’m glad to tell you that this is not one of those times. J. Michael Straczynski perfectly sets the tone for a new episode of “Twilight Zone.” His writing and attention to detail put me back into childhood. Much like most episodes of “Twilight Zone,” the story is built slowly yet meticulously over time. As the pages turned, I noticed myself reading faster and faster until I reached the final page, on which the crescendo that had been building finally reached its peak and left me waiting for the next issue. I now understand how kids who throw themselves on the ground when they don’t get what they want feel.  Straczynski weaves the tale of Ben Chambers and Jason black like a master tapestrist.  The description from Dynamite Entertainment sums it up better than I can, because frankly I’m still wrapping my head around it.

At the end of his career and at the bottom of a bottle, Ben Chambers took on one last case: investigate the unsolved murder of an Iraq War veteran and son to corporate CEO Jason Black. What he got was a trip through the past unlike any other. Having broken the timestream, will Detective Chambers be able to save the young man’s life, and if so, what kind of consequences might it have on the present? The answers to these questions and more lay waiting for you in The Twilight Zone.

But for all of Straczynski’s hard work, if he didn’t have a talented team with him, the story would be flat and dull. Vilanova and Francavilla create a hauntingly beautiful  environment that perfectly evokes the mood that was always set in Rod Serlings universe. The colors somehow pop while not being distracting, and the artist placed enough details in both the fore- and background to be stimulating while not being overwhelming. The problem with a lot of artists and colorists is their talent. Art and color sometimes turns into “Look at everything I can do!” rather than complimenting the story. Kudos to both Vilanova and Francavilla for showing off their obvious talent while avoiding this trap. If you’ve read this far, you deserve a reward. Make sure to ask your retailer for the Francesco Francavilla “Virgin Art” retailer incentive cover.

4.0 / 5.0