"Twisted Dark: Volume Two" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by T Publications
Written by Neil Gibson
Illustrated by Various Artists
2011, 196 Pages
Trade Paperback released on October 24th, 2011
Neil Gibson returns with another batch of stories under the Twisted Dark banner. After receiving some feedback on the first volume, Gibson put together this collection of eleven short comics that are a little less intense. He explains that some of the response he received regarding the previous book was that things were a bit too far. I disagree with that statement, but he tries to course correct here.
You can tell right away that this volume is a little more tame than the previous collection. The stories are good, but they lack that punch the original comics have. The twists are mostly minor and instead of knocking the wind out of you, they just kind of make you go "Oh...well, that's kind of interesting." Some lack even this. I'm looking at you, HMTQ.
One thing is for certain though: Gibson knows some talented artists. There is some impressive work here, all in very different styles. From the pulp style of Atula Siriwardane in Smile to the clean, almost picturesque characters in If Only, to the hyper-detailed pencils of Heru Prasetyo Djalal in Flamboyant, these are some great illustrators. I'd love to see what some of these would look like with a decent colorist, but most work best in black and white. Marc Olivent especially makes great use of the darkness in Paranoia, making it really encapsulate the character, amplifying the delusions that he's going through.
There's no doubt that Neil Gibson is an excellent storyteller. With some stories still haunting me from the stellar first volume of Twisted Dark, I was hoping for more of the same. What came about are still interesting comics, but they just don't fit under the twisted or dark categories. There are some creepy tales in here, most notably Popular – which is going to make me think twice about my public Facebook profile. Gibson promises that his scariest story to date will be included in the next volume. If that's the case, I can't wait.