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TPub: Twisted Dark, Volume 2

Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor


CC2K is back with more Twisted Dark by TPublications! You can check out our previous review of Twisted Dark: Volume 1 by our very own Gary M. Kenny here. For those who don’t know, the Twisted Dark series is a collection of one-shots written by Neil Gibson and illustrated by various artists. Today I’ll be going over Volume 2.

Writer: Neil Gibson
Illustrators: Various artists (listed below)

 

Volume 2 contains nine short stories. Because I can’t possibly review each one, I’ll be selecting 3 of the 9 to talk about in more detail. For the rest, I’ll add a statement or two of my general thoughts. I’ll provide a rating for each, and then at the end I’ll give an overall score. *Minor spoilers may follow* but I’ll be as spoiler-free as possible. Alright, let’s begin!

 

If Only
Illustrator: Arijit Dutta Chowdhury
4 out of 5

If Only is a pleasantly twisted story about what appears to be about a shriveled up, old woman watching her young daughter and daughter’s boyfriend having fun running through the sprinklers in the backyard. This silhouetted woman wears a sunhat, sips a glass of wine, and is envious of the two lovebirds prancing about. She longs for her youth and beauty, which is exemplified in her close examination of the young couple. It’s creepy, as the artist forces readers to focus on the bodies of these young characters rather than their faces while the woman narrates her insatiable hunger. What’s even worse, this woman is attracted to her daughter’s boyfriend, who the woman has known as a young child. Basically the more the woman narrates the story, the more my thoughts yell out, “Oh, that is so wrong!” But it doesn’t end there. The ending will shock you. After all, it wouldn’t be called Twisted Dark if it didn’t!

The detailed art hits the mark on this one, giving the story an extra kick of disturbing. As a side remark, do young couples really run through sprinklers and skip about? Because that’s kind of weird.

If Only

 

Smile
Illustrator: Atula Siriwardane
3 out of 5

This story is about 14-year-old Helen who falls in love with her good-looking history teacher, Derreck. She’s especially smitten by his smile. She spends her school days trying to impress him, and daydreaming about him returning her feelings. She knows it’s impossible, but hopes for it anyways. Her fantasies one day become a reality and the two end up engaging in a forbidden, ongoing sexual affair for a few years. Derreck, by the way, is married. Like how many stories go, Helen becomes pregnant and it gets more complicated from there.

The story ends on a very dark, and tragic note. It’s clever, but dreadful nonetheless. I really like how it goes full circle back to Derreck’s smile. It’s a bit predictable, but still captivating. What makes this story so troubling is that this is something that can and probably has happened in real life.  “Troubling good” as it will make you shudder. “Troubling bad” as it brings forth a terrible truth.

I gave it an average score because it’s somewhat longwinded and predictable. The art, while good in some instances, can be rough and inconsistent with its details.

 

Becoming  A Man
Illustrator: Antonio Balanquit Jr.
5 out of 5

This is my favorite story in Volume 2. It’s all about traditions and as the title suggests, it follows how a young boy becomes a man within his culture. In the fictional rural village of Seku, Alim is chosen by the chief to take part in a ritual that will make him a man and grant him the title of “provider.” Part of the ritual requires one of his legs to be fully bandaged, with oil slathered all over it. The ritual is only known by the reader as something to be feared and full of pain. It requires bravery. As Alim goes through the ritual, the tension becomes more and more unbearable with each turn of the page. What is he so afraid and what mystery is everyone in his tribe alluding to?

At the same time, another boy named Sylvain is jealous that he was not chosen for the ritual. Out of jealousy, he concocts a plan to exact his revenge. However, I feel Alim’s story is the main attraction and involves the twisted fear of the unknown. Slyvain’s side story is just cruel and malicious.

The art in this story is simply dazzling. From the clothes to the facial expressions, the art is full of detail and raw with emotion. With every close up, the faces of all the characters look real.

Becoming A Man

 

Legacy
Illustrator: Marc Olivent
3 out of 5

While it’s very poetic—I thought it was strangely beautiful—it was too predictable from the very beginning.

 

Evolution
Illustrator: Hugo Wijngaard
1 out of 5

I just didn’t enjoy the story. It was a lot of exposition with no interesting returns.

 

Flamboyant
Illustrator: Heru Prasetyo Djalal
2 out of 5

The story started out decent enough about a superstar who didn’t realize how much his best friend sacrificed for his fame, but I felt there wasn’t much of a payoff. The art was nice, but I’ll admit I didn’t understand the ending. 

 

Popular

Illustrator: Caspar Wijngaard
5 out of 5

This is my second favorite story from Volume 2. It’s about a girl who measures her popularity through Facebook, but things go awry. It’s psychologically nerve wrecking to read. I loved it and it reflects kind of the sad truth about social media, friends, and reality. Also, I’m a fan of Caspar Wijngaard’s art, so that’s always a win.

Popular

 

Paranoia
Illustrator: Marc Olivent
3 out of 5

The main character is crazy.

 

The Experiment
Illustrator: Mark Martel
1 out of 5

A nerd is bullied by a football player. He exacts his revenge on the football team and then some. While somewhat humorous at the end, I wouldn’t say it was twisted or dark.

 

Taken in as a whole, Twisted Dark: Volume 2 was an enjoyable read. While half of the stories were spectacular, the other half was only okay. It wasn’t as dark or twisted as I anticipated. Neil Gibson wrote in the foreword that fans thought he went too light, so I’m not alone in my thinking. I love my horror stories. With that said, I know Gibson is capable of being more horrific than what I read in Volume 2.

Overall Score: 3.0 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.

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