"Twisted Dark: Volume 5" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by T Publications
Written by Neil Gibson
Illustrated by Caspar Wijngaard, Seb Antoniou, Leonardo Gonzalez, Patrick Koduah, and Jan Wijngaard
2014, 164 Pages
Graphic novel released on September 23rd, 2014
Neil Gibson's ever expanding world of Twisted Dark continues in Volume 5. This time around we've got eight new stories that connect a few more dots between these characters and their strange lives. Now that the lines between the characters are becoming more apparent, Gibson includes a quick bio of the players in this volume to help readers distinguish who's who. Additionally, the stories collected here deal with a smaller group of people, so it's a lot easier to see how their paths cross.
Traditionally, Twisted Dark's tales have been...well, twisted. They lull you into this false sense of security and then pull the rug out from under you to reveal an insane ending. There are a few of those here which I'll get to in a sec, but where Gibson really stretches his muscles in this volume are the emotional stories. There are two, both drawn by Seb Antoniou, that follow the shaky relationship between a father and son. They're set years apart and it's not immediately obvious that the second tale stars the same people. It's a nice bit of closure that doesn't feel forced or like a Hallmark card. It's real.
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Now, let's talk about the crazy shit, huh? Hands down, the most twisted story collected here is "The Secret War", illustrated by Leonardo Gonzalez. This is a perfect example of what fans can expect from this series. It starts out innocent enough with a woman devoting her life to bomb defusing in Laos after her son was injured in an explosion. Gibson provides some misdirection in this tale, cleverly hiding where the true evil lurks the entire time. A lightbulb goes off when you realize where the story is going and it changes the entire thing. The one drawback is that Gonzalez's artwork is a little rough. There are some panels that look very flat or even cartoonish, which can take away from the tension in a scene.
There are three stories that connect a powerful mob boss and a man with a passion for killing. They're presented like a beginning, middle, and end for their working relationship, culminating in something that would make the Human Centipede blush. The lengths that people in this world will go to in order to kill someone is demented and actually a little impressive.
As with previous volumes of Twisted Dark, this one makes me want to go back and re-read everything. With new information, you'll see all the connections to each character. The links between them are clearer now and that will shed new light on their stories. The deep ties amongst the characters is what I wished Lost had. Gibson does it better and amps up the terror.