This book was a strange and interesting trip to take for four issues, giving readers who are new to Gabriel Hernandez’ work (people like myself) an opportunity to dip a toe slightly into the deep waters of the creator of Love and Rockets, along with giving us some gorgeous artwork (as is the expectation) from Darwyn Cooke. The first issue of this series floored me, and made me certain I would not miss an issue. The first issue reminded me why Vertigo does what it does so well, and showed me that they were far from over making independent stories come to life in ways that DC doesn’t often foray into.
But this issue just wasn’t up to par for the rest of the series. Not that this issue was some abhorrent monster, or some sort of slapped together “thing” that only barely resembles an ending- on the contrary, this book continues to look gorgeous and to be a well drawn piece of work, but the story seemingly was thrown aganst the wall to see what sticks for this last issue; and what stuck to the wall in the last issue of Twilight Children? Not much.
The ending was inscrutable, without a clear answer in sight. And the scene meant to be the prologue to the story answers little to nothing about what transpired over the four issues. I don’t know if this book suffered under the same delusions that Lost did, that creators proposed a great pitch for an opening story, but never thought to formulate an ending, so when the time came to wrap things up, everything had been squandered in the efforts to craft the idea behind the story that the actual conclusion was something beyond their grasp.
But still, this book is gorgeous, and maybe with some retooling, and possibly a new ending, the collected edition of this story could read better and with a bit more cohesion. Hopefully there will either be more story told for this, or a new and “proper” ending given to us, because I really felt more than a bit let down by the way things ended. I still feel like there should have been MORE to this story; we got a lot of dialogue, but nobody was really saying much. We saw several different locations, but the book never really took us anywhere.
I hope that I am not the only one who read this book and slowly became less enamored with it as it went on. From the first issue to the fourth, my overall impression of the series declined considerably. While there was some thought and design effort put into the book, it feels like the story was not where the focus was placed; the cover is beautiful, and the title page having a thematic and design element in common with it was a nice choice, and it really lets you know that Darwyn Cooke is in top form for this book.
The prologue was confusing; because I STILL don’t actually know who it was that the hooded man was- was he the sheriff? Was he one of the people released from the spheres released by Ela. Who is Ela exactly? What is in those glowing spheres? Where do the people go who were taken by the spheres? Will they come back again? Will Ela return? Wont anyone address the fact that several people were straight up murdered at the end of this story- or are we all just too glad that a bunch of kids got their eyesight back that we’re willing to overlook a multiple homicide? NONE of these dang questions get answered…
The flashback scene at the end with the old drunk was the most confusing of all, because the cave seemed to be the focus of a lot of the story, but we got no real answers. His children say that the cave isn’t a church (duh- it’s a cave) then he rebuts- “who said this isn’t a church?” what does that even mean?!? IT’S A CAVE! If it isn’t just a cave- maybe we should have been told. Maybe these kids need to not go climbing deep into caves on the beach to the point they have the topography of it committed to memory, and can recall to their father how it has changed since the storm “opened up the back of the cave and there’s no telling where it leads now.” Does it lead to hell? Does it unleash a bunch of thought-to-be-extinct ravenous and ancient piranha fish? Is it just a cave, and this whole section is just utterly unnecessary to the story? Again- none of these questions get answered.
I had high hopes for this book, but in the end, it was quite a big letdown. I wish I could have been happier with how this story ended, but after all is said and done- I am just glad it’s over and I can stop obsessing about the questions left unanswered and all the mysteries left unsolved- until I’m woken in the middle of the night by a seemingly stray thought that ties all these things together and I spend the better part of the next decade building a wall of photos of seemingly random aspects of the story thumbtacked to the wall, all intermingled with red string tying each aspect to one another in heretofore unseen ways.