Twisted Dark Review

Twisted Dark by Neil Gibson is a collection of dark story almost fairy tale like in nature. Gibson aptly called this book Twisted Dark, dark being the main theme. These tales are strong, illustrating Gibson’s ability as a storyteller. Yet for me some of these stories are just too bleak. For example ‘Routine’ shocked me. A brilliant ending masterfully crafted that the reader does not see coming but at the same time a little bit more happiness would not go amiss.

Writing short stories is often very difficult. It is important to make sure that the reader relates to the character as quickly as possible as the next story is just around the corner. Although Gibson succeeds to an extent, as the stories go on and the misery continues, some of the characters feel two dimensional. This could easily be sorted next time with less bleak and more bliss.

For the most part, Gibson has managed to create the marriage of words and pictures that are needed to make a good quality comic book. In a few occasions, some words could have been neglected, relying on the art work to do the work but this is a little criticism and for a first attempt, it is very impressive.

Each story is introduced by a saying, limerick or the like. This is a very effective and interesting way of drawing the reader into the story quickly. This is essential for a book that is built up on multiple short stories and for this Gibson should be credited.

Further, for the majority of the time, Gibson manages to craft stories that the reader does not see where they are going. This is a great skill to have in a relative new comer that will be an asset to him in his next projects. The story of Rajeev is stretched over two stories. One is enough as it is clear from the beginning of the second story that after the revelation of the first story that the same would happen again in the second. However other stories such as the prologue to ‘Windowpayne’ work very well. Gibson cleverly executes its position in the book perfectly with the reader only realising later on in the story that it is linked.

Gibson personifies style. Choosing black and White instead of colour was a smart decision: it really adds depth to the stories and the continuing theme. Further he has smartly chosen artists that fit the stories well.

Overall, Twisted Dark is a strong first attempt. The artwork complements the stories and Gibson has the right pace and precision that are needed for a storyteller to succeed in the comic book business. However it would warrant less darkness. Although this is clearly meant to be the theme of the book it makes you long to have some happiness thrown in. If only one or two stores were like this, some of the stories may have had more of a punch then they did. Still, a solid first attempt and worth checking out.

GS Rating: 3 out of 5

GS Reporter: Luke Halsall

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