The Twilight Children

Gilbert Hernandez, writer; Darwyn Cooke, artist & letterer; Dave Stewart, colorist

Vertigo Comics, 2016

Gilbert Hernandez and Darwyn Cooke: an unlikely pairing, or a dream team, depending on your perspective. I vote for "dream team," because Cooke was always good at illustrating anything with a strong story and little continuity to adhere to. This four-issue miniseries shares the magical reality of Hernandez's Latin American Palomar stories in Love and Rockets, but it is a fresh group of characters.

The central event is the appearance of mysterious glowing orbs, which appear in many places in the village, then disappear by morning. Their effects are dramatic: they blind children, then give them psychic abilities; destroy homes; and make entire families disappear. The local sheriff does his best to cope, but the orbs have also attracted outsiders, each with their own agenda: scientists, government experts, and secret agents.

A mystery woman named Ela has also materialized on the beach along with one of the orbs. Her role is unclear, but she exerts an odd fascination for many of the villagers, young and old alike. She eventually declares herself to be an enemy of the orbs, and savior of the town (indeed, of the whole world). The climactic showdown appears to destroy Ela and her allies, but returns the town to normal (including several residents who had disappeared). It's all a bit surreal, but undoubtedly a happy ending.

The back matter includes Hernandez's character designs. It's interesting to see how much Cooke changed many of them. The final characters are more distinctive and differentiated, while still retaining the Latin American look of the original designs. It was an effective collaboration: it's a shame there will not be more.

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I may have to check into this one. I read the original issues, but didn't quite understand how they linked together. Still, Darwyne Cooke work is the bee's knees, so it wouldn't hurt to have this one if only for the shelf-life and the back matter. It sounds like it might lend more cohesion to the series.

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