GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Twilight Children

Darwyn Cooke & Dave Stewart (illus.). Vertigo. May 2016. 144p. ISBN 9781401262457. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781401269388. Rated: M. SF
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In this masterly work, Hernandez (Love and Rockets), the late Cooke (Catwoman), and Stewart (Batman) have teamed up to create an eerie graphic novel with a 1950s sf vibe. Using common genre tropes (the scientist, the giant pod, and the out-of-town agent), they construct a world that reworks these concepts in fresh and at times humorous ways. The story centers on a small coastal town threatened by ominous pods that have taken the sight of three local children, giving them psychic abilities. With the help of other community members, compassionate scientist Felix is in a race to uncover the pods' source, intent, and next appearance. The film noir quality of the narrative brings to mind The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which plays well to the retrostyle of Cooke's art and embodies classic elements of early sf's love of minimalism and modernism. The recurring pod phenomenon recalls the 1960s British counterculture TV series The Prisoner.
VERDICT Lovers of The Prisoner will delight in this parallel world of government experts, secret agents, and scientists. Film noir and sf film enthusiasts will find this a touching addition to the genres. Recommended for mature readers.

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