01/11/2009. Contributed by Tomas L. Martin
pub: Bloomsbury. 72 page softcover graphic novel. Price: £ 7.99. ISBN: 978-0-7575-8788-0.
check out website: www.bloomsbury.com
'You're travelling through another dimension,' the opening to the legendary television show began. The dimension of imagination was presented to fifties and sixties viewers in a series of television shows by Rod Serling, entitled 'The Twilight Zone'. Combining elements of Science Fiction and horror not seen on the small screen before, Serling wrote many episodes that lived on in the public memory.
This episode, 'The Odyssey Of Flight 33' is probably the best of a new series of adaptations into comic book format. Mark Kneece has adapted a number of the original stories into graphic novels, with more to follow the initial four books.
The episode follows the escapades of a 707 airliner travelling from London to New York. Somewhere across the Atlantic, it begins to unexpectedly accelerate and accelerate and accelerate. Soon, the pilots are bewildered that their plane is travelling many times faster than it should be.
A sudden flash of light and the plane's flight crew find themselves trying to land in an altogether different place to the one they expect or should I say a different time? The special effects used in this episode were the most expensive of the time they were made.
A passenger begins to guess something is wrong and fights to get to the cockpit. Haunted by his history as a pilot during the war and a near-death experience, the passenger is determined not to see failure again. His panicking and paranoia keep the middle of the story ticking away rather nicely, before the twists pile in at the end.
The dialogue in this story is excellent, apparently due to Rod Serling's brother's interactions with pilots of the time. The flight crew appear very realistically, adding believability to the Science Fiction plot. This is also the only adaptation I've read so far where the twenty-first century impinges a little on the story, to good effect when the plane travels into the future.
Reading these 'Twilight Zone' comics, as good as some of them are, make me wonder if I wouldn't be using my time more wisely watching the original episodes on which they were based. The artwork is bland and unsurprising, the dialogue mainly lifted from Rod Serling's original script. If the art was more exciting and the adaptations more adventurous, I could see merit in these comics. As it is, they feel like an unnecessary re-hashing of a classic best viewed for itself.
Tomas L. Martin
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