We’re at the three-quarters mark of the story now, and “The Twilight Children” #3 starts to reveal some information about its core mystery but still manages to have an air of mystery about it. That’s thanks to Gilbert Hernandez, Darwyn Cooke and Dave Stewart’s miniseries not losing track of what makes it work so well. This mixture of character conflicts and supernatural threats is utterly engrossing, to the point that readers will wish it wasn’t going to end.
One of the aspects that works so well in “The Twilight Children” #3 is the perpetual feeling of doom hanging over the small town and its inhabitants, from the Federal agents with their matching smiles and shirts to Ela’s destabilizing presence to the re-appearance of those who were zapped away in earlier issues. Every time you think you know what’s coming next, you’re proven wrong.
The unpredictable nature of Hernandez’s script keeps “The Twilight Children” #3 from becoming one-note. If this was just a soap opera of relationships centered around Tito or the weird occurrences, readers might grow tired — but here, anything and everything can happen. Even when we start to learn what Ela’s place is in all of this (provided she’s telling the truth), it still feels like everything is wide open, and we’re definitely not getting all of the information just yet. It’s an impressive form of storytelling, considering we’re now at the 75% mark and what happens next is anyone’s guess.
Tito herself is worth noting, because she’s as much a villain as the strange events happening in the town. Hernandez and Cooke give her a swagger and confidence that keeps her from being unlikable, along with a certain vulnerability at just the right key moments. In lesser hands, she’d be hated, but here you almost feel sorry for her even as she uses and manipulates everyone around her. Her Machiavellian nature is impressive in part because it seems to come so naturally, but has almost (but not quite) an air of innocence throughout it all at the same time.
Cooke and Stewart’s art is still drop-dead gorgeous. Cooke’s lines are crisp and clean, and there’s a wonderful uniqueness to all of the characters. (The one exception, the two Federal agents, are drawn so deliberately identical that — in many ways — it serves to make their presence jarring and out-of-place in the little village.) There’s a lushness to the surroundings, too; this area feels genuinely appealing and like a place you can visit thanks to Cooke’s illustrations. As mentioned before, special attention has to be given to Tito, who has a certain vulnerability even as she manipulates everyone; there’s a softness to her features at just the right moments, which makes you feel for her even as she will strike yet again with no notice. The cherry on this proverbial dessert is Stewart’s colors, which remind us once again why he’s one of the premiere colorists in the comic industry; they look almost painted on top of Cooke’s lines, with such deep hues a reader could stare at the pages for hours.
“The Twilight Children” continues to be a monumental achievement by all creators involved. Hernandez, Cooke and Stewart have created a comic for the ages, with so many hooks just waiting to pull readers in. If they can stick the landing with next month’s conclusion, this is going to become a must-have for everyone’s shelves. Check it out.