Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
About three months ago, I got the chance to read and review Tabatha #1 by TPublications. That first issue blew me away and left me hungry for more. Today, I’m back to review the rest of the 4-issue series as a whole. What can I say? It’s amazing, with twists at every turn!
Writer/Creator: Neil Gibson
Illustrator: Caspar Wijngaard
Tabatha follows LA mailman Luke and his band of friends: Fin (Luke’s big brother), Baily (Fin’s girlfriend), and Ty (Baily’s brother). They all seem like normal, everyday people until you learn Luke’s only working as a mailman to scout out houses to rob. On the first day of their heist, they make the mistake of breaking into a house full of movie props. While they mess around with these props, Fin stumbles on Tabatha, a life size doll that he proceeds to place in inappropriate positions for his own amusement. At the same time, Luke finds the dismembered corpses of women. Startled and fearing for their lives, they immediately leave.
Haunted by the images of what he saw, but too afraid to go to the police because of their breaking and entering, Luke returns to the house to gather evidence. Unfortunately he’s caught red-handed by Gustav, who is not happy with how Luke’s friends have treated his lady Tabatha. As a warning, Gustav sends Fin a clear message: a package with Luke’s severed hand.
Without spoiling too much, readers learn that Gustav is an insane man who is in love with Tabatha and believes her to be real. While readers will find out why he’s been killing so many women, writer Gibson gives the story a bit of an edge by showing how Gustav is somewhat justified in his actions. Okay, scratch that! Kidnapping and killing women is never acceptable, but Gibson offers another side to Gustav for us to pity, even if just briefly.
Hands down Gustav is 95% crazy and delusional, yet Gibson is good at playing mind games with his readers. There are instances throughout the story where Tabatha moves with what looks like a flap of the eye, but you can never be too sure. In other instances, Gustav is seen having conversations with a mere doll, but you can’t help questioning whether she’s indeed real. It’s difficult to decipher between reality and what’s going on in Gustav’s head, which is part of the story’s charm. It’s basically an ongoing theme and by the end of the story, you still aren’t 100% certain. At least I’m not, and it drives me crazy.
For such a brief story, Gibson is able to incorporate some extensive character development. Sure, you never know who these people really are, but you get a good idea. For example, readers are able to witness the brotherly love between Luke and Fin, which is quite endearing. The gang’s thievery also had purpose and even Gustav had reasons for being the way he is.
To top it, Gibson and illustrator Wijngaard throw subtle jokes into the mix. While some jokes are obviously explicit, readers can pick up on the creators poking fun at modern day pop culture in the illustrations. They’re minor details, but I always crack a grin when I spot a reference I understand playing in the background.
Overall, Tabatha is a fun and thrilling series. It’s a story about Luke and his friends trying to save each other while taking down a lunatic killer. It’s a about a madman who seeks affection. It’s about a peculiar doll that may, or may not be real. And it’s all intertwined into one short story that packs more invigorating content than you would ever expect from 4 issues. Gibson wraps up the story nicely, ending the story in almost the same way it began. I’m crossing my fingers for a sequel because I can definitely see it being a possibility.
5.0 out of 5.0.
Author: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Laura is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently resides in Southern California. She drinks too much milk tea, talks too much about Green Lantern, and would marry Barry Allen if he were real.