"Tortured Life #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by T Publications
Written by Neil Gibson
Illustrated by Caspar Wijngaard
2011, 24 Pages
Comic released in September 2011
Richard had a decent life. He had a lady that loved him, a job, an apartment. Things seemed OK. Then he saw a cat dead in the road...only it wasn't dead yet. He got a glimpse of how the animal would die and then a few minutes later he saw those events unfold. This could have been written off as a one-time thing or something that he only thought he saw. Then it happened again and again. It started with animals and he usually had no proof that they died the way that he foresaw. Richard could live with this, but when he started seeing how people would shuffle off this mortal coil, he started living up to the title of the comic, Tortured Life.
Author Neil Gibson starts this book with a simple premise. It's one that makes sense and has a specific set of rules. By the end of the comic, in something that I've come to expect from the writer, things take a dramatic turn that I did not see coming. Gibson previously wrote the Twisted Dark series, which I greatly enjoyed. Each story has a great twist at the end that puts the entire tale in a new light. This first issue of Tortured Life works in a similar manner.
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Richard is a character that is easily identifiable right off the bat. He's an everyman. When he's struck with this “gift,” he just wants to be left alone. It's one thing seeing how a cat dies in the street, but it's quite another when you find out your next door neighbor is going to die alone from a heart attack. It's not like he can tell anyone about this. He'd sound like a mad man. The question I haven't seen asked just yet is if he can change these outcomes. Are his visions set in stone? If he told his neighbor to watch his weight or visit his doctor, would he avoid his fate?
Caspar Wijngaard provided the artwork for Tortured Life. He had previously worked with Gibson on some of the Twisted Dark stories. I'm glad his work is in color here as it really brings everything out. Wijngaard has a talent for emotion in his pencils. You get the feel of a panel the moment your eyes hit it. For the most part, this is a feeling of sadness as Richard is living a lonely existence filled with dread. On the occasions where a happy memory surfaces, the entire mood changes in an instant.
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As Richard's visions happen more and more often, he can't walk down the street without seeing a ton of dead bodies everywhere. Wijngaard illustrates pure carnage as Richard strolls through the park. There are bodies everywhere. One guy is on fire. It's crazy, but so cool to look at.
As an indie comic, Tortured Life is made with great quality. The cover is a thick stock and the images are glossy and bright. You don't get this kind of book from any of the big publishers anymore.
Tortured Life is off to an interesting start. The premise is laid out beautifully by Gibson, with some gorgeous art from Wijngaard. This is how a first issue should be laid out. There's a hook right away and the last page hits you in the gut in just the right place to make you want some more.
T Publications is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to cover the cost of printing, publishing, and distributing the remaining five issues of Tortured Life. You can find a link to read this entire first issue at the Kickstarter as well.
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