Complete Spoils ahead!
The Twilight Zone is a fresh new comic (currently in issue 3) that emulates the popular cult classic television show in all aspects. J. Michael Straczynski writes it with art by Guiu Vilanova. In this new incarnation, Straczynski has managed to hold on to that original intrigue and suspense offered by the television show. The same physical reaction one has to hearing the theme music is induced by Stracznski’s writing style. The first story arc in this series is covered in four parts. This is a review of the third.
Parts 1 and 2 introduce us to a corrupt business tycoon Trevor Richmond, who has embezzled millions of dollars from investors and stockholders by diverting funds from quality firms to sweatshops and keeping the difference for himself. On the eve of a federal investigation that will indict him for these activities, he decides he has no other option than to disappear. After a meeting with Mr. Wylde at Expedited Services, he begins a genetics-altering program that successfully changes his face, height, voice and even his fingerprints. In exchange for these services, Expedited Services requires payment in the amount of – everything he has! He begrudgingly agrees and becomes Thomas Reily. He is on top, completely convinced he has successfully gotten away with everything. Until he sees his old face on television and realizes that his original identity and entire life was given to another man. A man who appears to be living his life better than he ever could have. He is immediately terrified that he made the wrong decision.
Part 3 picks up with the back-story of this man who has assumed the identity of Trevor Richmond and the quickly unraveling Thomas Reily who is overtly determined to get his identity back. We learn that Expedited Services gave the persona of Mr. Richmond to a hardworking, down on his luck man named Damon. They had discovered that Damon had been diagnosed with stage three bone marrow cancer, which gave him three years left to live. Free of charge, Mr.Wylde offers him the best last three years of his life. This includes being a rich man who has the love of a beautiful woman and the respect of nation for taking responsibility for his criminal activities. This issue concludes when Thomas Reily confronts Trevor outside his old penthouse. Richmond lays it out for Thomas by asserting, “You had everything…and what did you do with it? You wasted it. Don’t appreciate it. Well, I won’t make that mistake. And now…now I live your life…now I make love to the woman you never came close to appreciating the way you should, the way she deserves. Now I live your life the way you should have lived it!” In ending, Reily swears to kill Richmond.
In complete Twilight Zone fashion, Straczynski is painting a story of actions, reactions and the consequences that come from both. What I loved about this issue is that we begin this story thinking Expedited Services is just as greedy and evil as this story’s’ protagonist. However, we are shown a bigger picture where they take from the evil and in turn give to the good. In doing so valuable lessons are taught on both sides. The art in this issue has a lot of movement. Given that Reily is erratic most of the time, the panels accurately show his interacts with others, especially Richmond in a natural progression of dominance. The chosen panel to the right shows this assertion that takes place as he calls out Richmond to their confrontation. The coloring is much darker and prominent in this issue as opposed to the first two. This gives the books a great contrast that distinguishes the different levels of the story.
The tag line for the next issue – “The final confrontation between two men fighting for one life comes to its fiery conclusion. And only one of them will survive.” Will Richmond get to live the rest of his terminally ill life out in peace? Or will Reily get his identity back just in time to spend the rest of his life in prison? One thing is for sure, however this story ends it will not be a happily ever after. After all, that would not be the Twilight Zone.
My rating – 4.5/5
Part 4 will be available on April 2nd, 2014.