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TPub: Twisted Dark, Volume 3

Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor


CC2K is back again with another review of Twisted Dark by TPublications. Why? Because CC2K’s Laura Hong has basically enjoyed every comic sent her way by the team and can’t stop reporting on it. You can check out her previous review of Twisted Dark: Volume 2. For those who don’t already know, the series is a collection of one-shots written by Neil Gibson and illustrated by various artists. Now without further delay, here is a look at Twisted Dark: Volume 3

 

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

Volume 3 has eleven self-contained stories, but unlike Volume 2, Gibson has sprinkled a few interlocking ones. What this means is you don’t need one story to understand the other. However there are recurring characters and themes that if picked up on, make a story more enjoyable and twisted. Because I can’t individually review all the stories, I’ll be selecting 3 out of the 11 to talk about in detail. For the remainder, I’ll add a rating. At the end I’ll give my concluding impressions and an overall score. *Minor spoilers may follow* but I’ll be as spoiler-free as possible.


 

 

 

Hitting Back
Illustrator: Jake Elphick & Caspar Wijngaard
3 out of 5

Hitting Back begins with a woman narrating about morality. She asks, “Have you ever done something you knew was wrong, but you did it anyways? Of course you have. Everyone has.” Such a question of moral ambiguity quickly sets up a remorseful air. Upon reading it, a feeling of guilt will form inside of you and you won’t even know what it was you had done. This is the type of evil sorcery writer Gibson likes to inflict upon poor souls. Anyways, frustrated with her husband and determined to get her life back, the unknown woman goes off to hire a Nigerian hitman. She wants the hit to look like an accident.

This story is brief and simple. While I find it to be lacking in depth, what gave this story at least an average score was the ending. If it hadn’t been connected to a previous story, the hit would have been a total miss and not as impactful. I know I’m being vague here, but Gibson is very adept at being psychologically twisted. He isn’t able to get into my head in this story, yet the ending was still rather clever.

The art alone was well thought out and the panels are excellently executed. I love the way artists Elphick and Wijngaard focus on all the little details of the woman’s perverted mind. For example, the zooming in on the gardener’s shears while she contemplates having a gardener do the hit. It definitely brings out her pure malicious will for premeditated murder.

 


 

Silent Justice
Illustrator: Seb Antoniou
5 out of 5

In Silent Justice, Fontana Marceles is an accountant working for El Nudillo, a crime lord. What is fascinating about Fontana is that he is a mute who keeps a record of all the money. This means it would be difficult for him to testify in court or conspire with anyone, which is a win-win for El Nudillo. However, not so much for Fontana. One day, Fontana and his translator are called to the office. El Nudillo explains that $1.5 million has been stolen from him and how he does not take the action lightly. He accuses Fontana of being the thief. Due to needing a translator, miscommunication ensues and the story spirals to a ghastly conclusion.

First of all, wow. Just wow. This story is one of my favorites in the volume because it is downright cruel and unfortunate. Gibson does not hold back the ruthlessness that these characters all share. How does one defend themselves without the ability to talk and listen, communicating only through sign language? I think Gibson zeroed in on a unique idea and gave new meaning to the words, “silent justice.”

The art is emotionally detailed. Antoniou conveys rage, fear, and disbelief clearly through the facial expressions alone. The background aesthetics are missing, with the characters cast against a white backdrop throughout most of the story, but it is in no way a deal breaker. It allows us to focus on the cruelty at play, making us hold our breath while our stomachs churn. Good work all around.

 


 

 

 

The Bid
Illustrator: Hugo Wijngaard
2 out of 5

The Bid takes places in France in 1925. Monsieur Desmarais rushes home to inform his wife they are going to be rich. He recounts his dumbfounded luck in being sent a grand invitation from Lustig, the Deputy Director General of France. Apparently Monsieur Desmarais and four other scrap dealers were summoned to a secret meeting involving the tearing down of the Eiffel Tower. The maintenance on the famous landmark is too costly and putting France in a financial crisis. As the title suggests, the five scrap dealers are to bid on the rights to the metal. The story unfolds from there.

I found The Bid to be somewhat tame and uneventful. Much dialogue goes on between Monsieur Desmarais and his wife before he even gets to the point of the bid. By the time he mentions what the meeting is about, warning signals immediately lighted up for me about how sketchy the whole thing was. It was not that the story was ridiculous, but that the end reveal wasn’t worth it or surprising. It is a story that was hard to believe in the beginning, and easily predicted in the end. I know, I’m doing a terrible job of being spoiler-free here.

While the story is not true, Gibson points out at the end that it is based on a real person. In that regard, The Bid gets an extra point because historical tidbits are interesting. The art by Wijngaard is quirky and comical. It fits the story perfectly as it brings out the satirical nature of the plot. The art pokes fun at the characters involved, and the fact that the story was inspired by a real person makes it more amusing.

 


 

Growth
Illustrator: Caspar Wijngaard
4 out 5

Love of my Life
Illustrator: Jan Wijngaard
5 out of 5

Drink Driving
Illustrator: Atula Siriwardane
4 out of 5

Career Choice
Illustrator: Leonardo Gonzales
3 out of 5

Perfection
Illustrator: Caspar Wijngaard
5 out of 5

Abandoned
Illustrator: Jake Elphick
4.5 out of 5

Lifeboat
Illustrator: Caspar Wijngaard
4 out of 5

Peace and Quiet
Illustrator: Atula Siriwardane
4.5 out of 5

 


As a whole, Twisted Dark: Volume 3 was addicting and engaging. I loved the interconnecting stories, which heightened my reading experience. Gibson offers a great balance of storytelling. Twisted Dark isn’t called twisted because it is aesthetically gruesome. By that, I mean blood all over the panels gruesome and trust me, some stories are certainly sickening in this way. The series is called so because it is also emotionally and psychologically twisted: Warped morals, scientific research and statistics gone wrong, and worst case scenario. Honestly, I don’t know how Gibson sleeps at night or how the various artists he corners to illustrate his imagination cope with the nightmares. Either way, more hard copies of this UK based series need to be readily made available in America. We’re ready!

Overall Score: 4.0 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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