The Twilight Experiment #2 Review

Reviewer: Tim Stevens
Story Title: The Boy Who Fell to the Earth

Written by: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by: Juan Santacruz
Colored by: Jose Luis Roger
Lettered by: Phil Balsman
Editor: Bob Harras & Kristy Quinn
Publisher: Wildstorm

For issue #2 of Twilight, we have caught up to the present day and Michael, the moon exiled son of deceased hero Serenity is set to make his superhero Bar Mitzvah. Sadly for him, there will be no baseball themed reception or a chair hoisting dance involved, only a trip to the blue marble, Earth. Meanwhile, Rene is revealed to be hiding a little something from her therapist when she takes a trip to Colorado. And just take a guess where Michael decides to make his first Earth appearance.

I like Michael a lot more this issue than last and some of that, no doubt, can be owed to the fact that he has grown up some. When we last some him, he was just a boy, with all the whining about how unfair life is that that state of maturity would imply. Now, he is a fairly sophisticated, dare I say normal, young adult. My only problem is that while I like him more this way, I am not sure this state of mind has been earned. While it is not impossible for that whiny child of last issue to mature into the adult we see in this issue, the reader is given no insight into how that happened. We know how and why he is smart, but not how or why he is mature and almost worldly as he sets off for Earth. It could be guessed that his surrogate father/computer program Abe (who’s interactions with Michael I definitely enjoyed. Not particularly unique but still on the enjoyable “man and his machine buddy” side of things) could be responsible for it, but that is just a best guess as there is no specific evidence offered that Abe was programmed to be anything more than a learning machine.

I am more pleased with the evolution of Rene or, rather, the further revealing of her background. The possibility of superhuman abilities is confirmed here. However, those abilities exceed what was initially hinted at and Rene seems relatively at ease with them. After last issue setting us up for a Chase-esque individual who is tortured by her “gifts”, this left turn is an appreciated surprise. The mystery of her father’s fate is another avenue that I am pleased to see introduced.

Santacruz’s art continues to be impressive, except when it comes to action scenes. Again, as with last issue, he is not depicting a straightforward fight sequence so that could account for the lack of weight and resonance. I still await an action sequence occurring in the now, not observed through a TV screen or a computer simulator, in the hopes that my fear on this matter will be shown to be ill founded.

As I said, in all other aspects, I am enjoying his art. We get a few more hints dropped about Michael’s possible father in the aforementioned computer sequence as well as the costume that Michael sports. It is far too similar to the Righteous’s to be a mistake or coincidence. The only question is if it is a “real” hint or merely a red herring. I also really appreciate his panel layout; in particular, his closing image of Michael as illuminated by flashlight.

If that ending is any indication, next issue the series should kick into gear. For now, much of my concerns about the first issue remain: strong art that somehow lacks the ability to pull the reader into action sequences, a story that, while intriguing, is too surface to truly involve me yet. On the other hand, everything I liked about last issue is still here and both Rene and Michael benefited from some new revelations and a maturing personality, respectively.

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