Of all the new Vertigo books that were announced back at Comic Con in July, The Twilight Children was one of the titles that got my attention the most. It’s a small mini-series, but it features the talents of Gilbert Hernandez and Darwyn Cooke. That’s a pretty creative team and now that the book has finally arrived, we can take a look at what they have to offer. Is it good?
The Twilight Children #1 (Vertigo Comics)
In a small Latin American fishing town, things seem quiet and normal. Everyone has their own situations going on, whether it be a couple of kids wanting to check out a small cave on a beach or a woman having an affair with a local fisherman. Nothing extraordinary… except for this frequent event that seems to keep on happening. Every once in a while, a large, glowing white ball will appear on the beach or around town. No one knows what they are or where they come from, but there must surely be something to these things…
The Twilight Children #1 is a fast-paced beginning for this mini-series. The story introduces the setting, the characters, and the setup for the series all in one issue, and does so rather quickly. This is a comic that is always on the move and is usually never one to take its time or let a scene play out for too long. It’s always jumping around from different characters, usually not having a scene be longer than two or three pages. As such, it really crams a lot of story and events into this first issue, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first, and can lead to a couple of abrupt scene transitions or cuts.
As surprising as it may seem, this fast pace and storytelling doesn’t actually hurt the comic all that much, despite all of the things it is setting up. Everything is moving along steadily and is introduced in a natural and convincing way. There’s no exposition, long drawn out conversations regarding certain parts of the comic, or anything of the sort. Everything we learn plays out or is given to us as if it was just a normal day for these characters in this setting through their small talk or the artwork. For instance, when we start learning about these glowing balls, the characters are just chatting normally about them and what they usually do (like how they just appear and disappear in a single day) without needing to explain anything in great detail. It’s interesting to read and things like this make the characters feel like normal human beings.
Hernandez’s writing is solid here. The dialogue is engaging and enjoyable to read, since the conversations the characters have feel natural most of the time. The characterization is often shown through the small talk and body language the individuals have and there’s quite a bit you can read into it, like with Tito and how she feels about the affair she is having. However, not all of the characters end up all that fleshed out or are given that much character, such as the scientist introduced halfway through. The comic usually strikes the perfect balance at times in terms of showing instead of telling. It often allows the artwork to show what is happening in the story without having to explicitly explain it. It’s rather refreshing and helps keep up the comic’s brisk pace. It’s a well written book overall despite some minor flaws, and I’m eager to see what happens next.
I called dibs earlier, so it’s mine!!
However, what really makes the comic shine is Cooke’s wonderful artwork on display. His storytelling and layouts are fantastic here and everything in a scene usually flows perfectly from panel to panel, especially with all the little details put into it (like with how in one scene where two characters are talking, you can see a background character walking by them over the course of three panels, starting far away and getting closer, instead of just randomly appearing in one panel). The characters are drawn well and are very expressive, helping a lot with the characterization going on. There’s a lot of neat imagery that stands out and looks visually interesting, especially with these mysterious objects that keep appearing and disappearing. Then you add in Dave Stewart’s terrific colors that really know how to set a mood or tone and you have amazing looking artwork to go along with that great writing.
Is It Good?
The Twilight Children #1 was a comic that I wasn’t too sure about at first after reading it, but letting it settle in and thinking about it carefully, it’s really a great and well written start to this series. It’s fast moving and at times has problems because of that, but the writing and storytelling are just terrific, aided by some wonderful looking artwork. While the cost is pretty high (I don’t think it even had as many pages as the Vertigo page said it did), it’s a really darn good comic and worth your time. Whether you get it now, when it’s on discount, or when it is in trade form, The Twilight Children #1 is something you definitely should check out.