The cover to my copy of NOW Comics' THE TWILIGHT ZONE #1

When I first spotted this comic I thought to myself; hey, a Twilight Zone story with a hot blonde! That should be worth it, right?

Eh…not so much. Although the comic certainly features a hot woman (a redhead, way to lie to me again, Covers), I’d say the story was barely worth the $.50 I spent. I’m not even going to name the artistic team to spare them. Allow me to elaborate.

The story, called The Big Dry,  starts out with protagonist and put-upon husband Stanley at the wheel of a car which has just overheated in the middle of the desert. Carla, his overbearing and verbally abusive wife (but she’s hot), is berating him for being a “genius” that is unable to get them where they need to go. Carla gets out of the car – for some reason – and wonders off making obvious metaphors about how their marriage was a mistake.

Now, this being a tale supposedly worthy of The Twilight Zone brand I’m already looking for the screwed up twist that will ultimately reveal itself later on. So one can imagine that when it’s suddenly revealed there’s an adolescent girl in the back of the car I at first thought Stanley was going crazy and imagining things.

Nope. It’s just Carla’s daughter, Corky. She has a slightly creepy exchange with step-dad Stanley about how she wishes he and she could just go on adventures – specifically adventures in the desert – without Carla. If this was an Alfred Hitchcock film they would have pulled away and left Carla, leaving us with pages of drama as it’s slowly revealed the redhead survived and has been hunting them.

But no, Carla just comes back and interrupts their weird discussion on love and they magically restart the car and continue on their way to Nowhereville – 130’F.

Of course, the travelers soon arrive at an old ranch house out in Bumblefuck Desert and stop as the car finally decides to quit. Carla runs wildly inside to find water, where the door falls off its hinges, the faucet is dry, and the fridge is COMPLETELY empty. While inside she is attacked by the couple who live there – a husband and wife who have been dessicated to the point of looking like corpses, and the husband is still barely alive. The wife HAD been alive until recently, and its never explained how she was naked when Carla encountered her and a page later is suddenly clothed. But for those of you into corpse-ish nude women there’s a couple panels for you on Page 5.

From here things start to play out as you’d expect. Deputy Mathers – an attractive lawman – shows up and after some back-and-forth he understands who Stanley and the gang are and what they’ve found, and of course the same mysterious electronic disruption that stopped the first car is fouling up his and he spends the night (oh yeah, there’s a mysterious electronic disruption). Carla decides to jump Mathers’ bones and sleeps with him that night…while Corky is scared by the thunderstorm and crawls into bed with Stanley. More awkward “we’d be better off without my mom” talk ensues. Okay, we get it – they don’t like Carla.

The reader is privy to a creepy green hand opening the door during the night, and the next morning we discover that the until-now-still-alive-but-little-more-than-a-mummy farm husband has been further drained of liquid and had his neck snapped. Not sure whether to blame it on a magic coyote or just an accident Stanley and Mathers bury the farmer out back and discover a giant hole they assume was intended to be a well.

That night Carla sneaks into the sheriff’s bedroom again and finds him dessicated – but alive. She initially blames Stanley who points out not that they were sharing a bed until now and that she is his own alibi, but that the pathetic husband doesn’t actually know how to suck the blood out of a man and therefor is innocent. Realizing something is in the house with them they barricade the bedroom door until it leaves at the rise of the sun.

The next morning Stanley and Corky find strange tracks coming out of the well hole and make the obvious conclusion; prehistoric amphibious monster needs liquid to live and is sucking blood out of people – leaving them alive but helpless so it can keep coming back.

So what did it do with all that rain water?

That night Stanley and Corky try to light a fire in the hole to keep the monster away, but another storm puts it out. They immediately try and barricade the house, but only board up one door and the creature gets in through the kitchen – where it apparently kills Carla.

Yep, everyone else it’s drained but left to live but this bitch it just brutally slaughters off-panel. Now, I don’t care how awful a parent has been, how bitchy or distant, but if I was an adolescent girl who just saw the horribly mangled body of my mother I’m certain my reaction would be more than just, “Sob! Mom!” and a tear. Yep, that’s it.

Although given all the talk Corky’s made earlier in the story I wouldn’t be surprised if she actually told her mom to sit in the kitchen and left the door propped open with a big sign that said “Monster Food Here.” So I guess I have to decide if this little girl is simply a hardhearted bitch, or this odd budding thing for her step-dad has made her a sociopath who would have eliminated the competition eventually and this has just saved her the trouble.

Or both.

Anyway, Corky and Stanley lead the thing into the basement where they manage to dry it out with chemicals and fire and kill it.

The next morning the local authorities have shown up and seem to believe Stanley’s story that “giant monster sucked ’em dry” because he claims he can prove the strange chemical in the victims’ blood is from an ancient prehistoric monster. Everyone leaves in squad cars, so I’m assuming that the cops just smiled and nodded along with Stanley’s story and he’s really off to be charged with triple homicide (that and Mathers’ ultimate fate is unrevealed). As the squad cars leave another green hand rises from the well hole, so watch out everyone who lives out in the middle of the desert and has an unfinished well…you might have a prehistoric blood-sucking frogman to deal with. Ooooooo!

THE BOTTOM LINE: Yeah…avoid this one.

Thanks to the bad concept, the many plotholes (now the cars work? Mathers had no gun? the thing eats the entire contents of a fridge and then cleans up after itself?), and the very scratchy art style I attribute this comic the equivalent of find an old 8mm film in your parents’ attic. You’ll watch it because when viewed for the first time there’s a sort of “I can’t believe this exists!” sort of quality to it, and maybe there’s a hot woman that you really hope isn’t your mom. But ultimately, after the magic of that first-time viewing has worn off and all the scratches, dirt, and absurdity of the production start to assert themselves, you realize how much of a waste of time it was.

Honestly, the ads for NOW Comics’ Married With Children series look more interesting and better drawn than this was…