So, as you’ll know if you read my last post, I recently went to MCM Ireland Comic Con and, among many other things I did, I got to meet the creator of the Twisted Dark series, Neil Gibson. In this post I’m going to review the first volume of this amazing series. Also, I’ll try not to give an spoilers, but be careful if you haven’t read it yet and you don’t want to know absolutely anything. If you indeed haven’t read it yet, it’s a series of connected short stories with a dark twist. If that doesn’t sell it to you, I don’t know what will!
So… hot crap, this book is amazing! Every time I finish reading a chapter, there is nothing that I want to do more than read the next one. The series has six volumes altogether and I know that I am definitely going to read them all. Anyway, today I am going to go through each of the eleven chapters in the first volume and review them. Let’s get started! But before we do, I just want to inform you about our new sponsor.
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The first chapter is called Suicide. It’s very short. Only four pages. But it nicely sets the tone for the rest of the book. It is drawn by Atula Siriwardane, who I think did a pretty good job. From what I found online, she usually has a very photorealistic art style, but she compromised it nicely to fit into the black and white colour palete that the series has. This chapter also has very creative lettering with how some of the writing is seen in the chat and some of it is in the narration boxes. There is also some nice symbolism there with how the stuff in the chat is shown before its sent, the thought arising in the girl’s head, and then the narration boxes expand on that, as the thought has already gotten to her. Overall, it’s a fun short introduction to the book and it lets that voice in your head know that you should keep on reading.
The next chapter is a lot longer and is called Routine. This one is drawn by Caspar Wijngaard. The beauty of this chapter is that it goes on for a good while making you think that one thing is happening, until you realise what’s really happening. The climax is built up for long enough that it really hits you hard. I honestly think that this is the best-written chapter in the book. Neil also manages to provide some nice exposition without having to go into a ton of unecesarry flashbacks. The only criticism that I have about the writting in this chapter is that maybe it goes on a bit too long, but it’s still great. Caspar’s art is very interesting in this chapter. It’s a strange style that I wouldn’t be able to read a whole book in, but it works very well for portraying the mood in this one chapter.
Next up we have A Lighter Note, which is drawn by Heru Prasetyo Djalal. And let me just say this straight off the bat, I love Heru’s art in this. It’s beautiful! And it fits the mood of this chapter very well. I think that Neil did an amazing job at choosing the right artist of the mood of each chapter. Anyway, let’s get onto the writting itself here. It definitely makes the reader very sympathetic towards Rajeev, so much so that the twist is actually kind of believable when it comes. I attended a webinar hosted by Neil Gibson lately and he said that this chapter was the first one he wrote, when he was actually working in the UAE. Thanks to this chapter, the rest of this amazing book was able to happen!
The following chapter is called Windowpayne and is drawn by Jan Wijngaard. This one actually teases an interesting story that we are unaware of from the very beginning. There are a ton of questions. Why does the guy has a scar? Why does he hate press so much? Why is he so desperate to get everybody to buy a Windowpayne? And all of those questions get answered in a more than satysfying way. Jan’s art is pretty good in this. Once again, it fits the mood nicely. I just think that he could have drawn the scar a bit differently, because it wasn’t realy too clear. Apart from that, another great chapter!
The next chapter is The Game. This chapter is drawn by Ant Mercer. This is a fairly short chapter. The thing that is great about this one is that it’s the first one that doesn’t exactly have a clear ending. The last panel has enough ambiguity that the ending can be left to your own interpretation a bit. The dialouge between the doctor and the patient is also fun. However, I’m not really a big fan of the art in this chapter. They style gives a sense as if the art wasn’t finished and some panels make the people look very unatural. Although, this art style does work well for the patient, who is supposed to be chaotic and make weird faces, I don’t think that the other people look very good in it.
The next chapter is one of the shortest chapters in the book. It’s called Blame and it is drawn by Atula Siriwardane. This one doesn’t exactly have a twist at the end that makes it dark, as much as the whole chapter is somebody talking about fairly dark things until you realise the very dark reason. The art in this chapter is great because there are two different styles: what the woman is talking about and what is actually happening. It works very well.
The following chapter is a direct continuation of A Lighter Note and it is called A Heavenly Note. It once again has the amazing art of Heru Prasetyo Djalal. I must say that I had no idea where this chapter was going making the twist great. The writting perfectly shows how Rajeev is going even further past the line. Also, once again, the art is perect for the story.
The next one we have is Cocaína with art by Caspar Wihngaard once again. He also drew Routine. This chapter is showing Juan’s entire life from start to finish. Like everybody’s life, it has ups and downs and ends with death. The art is fantastic. It looks like a neater version of the art in Routine, which is fitting because they are both about addiction, but this one is about addiction in the light of business, while Routine is just about raw alcoholism.
Next up is The Pushman. This chapter is drawn by Max Ehrmann. The writting in this one is great at showing that life isn’t fair. It doesn’t treat people equally. It’s able to make the reader angry at the world, just like the main character is angry at the world. And the ending shows just to what extent the character is angry. The art style is very simplistic, but it works well at being able to show lots of people, without having them lost in the crowd.
The penultimate chapter is called Münchausen’s Little Proxy and it has art by Jan Wingaard again. The story is great and the ending is brutally fun to read. You cannot help but feel the same emotions as Nigel Payne (clear connection to another chapter). Once again, Jan does a super job at the art, adapting his style to fit this chapter. My only criticism is that the last panel, which is also the image on the front cover of this volume, was clearly drawn by someone else and it looks a bit awkward beside the panel drawn by Jan.
And the last chaper is fittingly called The Last Laugh with art by Dan West. It is done very interestingly with a Wikipedia article behind the panels. It’s something very creative which isn’t seen much in comics. This chapter shows how humans find all of these things dark and twisted while nature is full of these things and just lives with them. But I think that, with this last chapter and, really, the whole book, Neil is also trying to show that humans are nothing but creatures that will go to scary lengths to satisfy a need that it may have. May it be the need for anonimity, for finding someone you care about, for power over others, for genocide, for money, for revenge, for your job, for letting out your anger, for attention or for survival and being the dominant species. We will stop at nothing and loose our humanity to get what we want. And that makes this book so brilliant and Neil Gibson such an amazing writter.
If you haven’t read this book, you need to do so whenever you get the chance. It is a must-read with outstanding writting from Neil Gibson and fantastic art from all of the artists that worked on this book. I definitely cannot wait to pick up volume two and see what else this twisted series has in store.
Damn! I’m pretty sure that this the longest post on my blog so far. I hope that you all enjoyed it. Please, let me know what you think of it in the comments! Share this post on your social media if you feel like you want other people to know about it. Talking about social media, don’t forget to like me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, follow me on Twitter and subscribe to me on YouTube. But that’s it from me for now. See thee soon!