Title: Twisted Dark Volume 1
Author: Neil Gibson
Series: Twisted Dark #1
Genre: Horror Graphic Novel
Received for review from the author
Summary (from Goodreads)
The first volume in Neil Gibson’s acclaimed series of twisted tales. This 200 page book contains 12 individual and unique stories which are all related. The stories vary from 10 year old girls to Colombian drug lords and everything in between. It is left to the reader to find the connections between the stories – some connections are immediately clear whilst other connection only become clear in later volumes. This series is designed for re-reading. The author describes the genre as psychological thriller, but the books contains horror, dark (at times demented) stories incorporating every human emotion, illegal activity, and brutal reality. Using various illustrators allows each story and character to develop their own form. Twisted Dark has been embraced by the comic book world receiving critical acclaim and a cult following. If you haven’t read one yet, you don’t know what you’re missing.
After reading and really enjoying Volume 2, I’m was really pleased to get the opportunity to review Volume 1. I remember Neil saying that Volume 2 was the weakest of the series, and I enjoyed it so much, I didn’t see how it could be possible that Volume 1 could be better. But it was.
I don’t want to just rehash everything I enjoy about this series – if you want that, check out my review of Volume 2. Needless to say everything that’s good about Volume 2 is in Volume 1. But what makes Volume 1 stronger is a couple of absolutely standout stories that deal with some touchy and serious themes.
The first story is the two part one about Rajeev – a migrant worker who goes to great lengths to gain power. Gibson takes the story to a brave place by having Rajeev convert to Islam. It’s a potentially touchy issue, with such a lot of negative press about the Muslim faith at the moment. It would be easy to come across as crude or racist, but what the story actually does is brilliantly demonstrate how people can use the ‘brand’ of religion to further their own twisted desires. It reminds that the terrorists are not representative, that they are perverting what should be an enlightening and uplifting thing to serve their own needs. And the horror the story plays with is how twisted and evil the sort of person that can do this is, and how they can be such an influence on others.
My second favourite story is the one featuring a mother with Munchausen’s syndrome. Again, the standout thing about this was it really managed to get inside her head and take what could have been another touchy subject and turn it into a sensitive, but still horrific exploration of a terrible illness. The horror, once again, isn’t simple gory shocks – its the dichotomy of the character – the inner conflict between the part of her that loves her son and the part that loves the attention of medical professionals. It’s clever that I never doubted that she loved her son, even as the story takes a very dark turn towards the end, and the fact that the character was so human, so relatable, made it even more frightening.
A really clever set of stories that has been a pleasure to read.