COMIC BOOK REVIEW: TORTURED LIFE #1 – #3 / AUTHOR: NEIL GIBSON, DAN WATTERS / ARTIST: CASPAR WIJNGAARD / PUBLISHER: T PUBLICATIONS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Richard thought he had a problem when he saw a dead cat on the road, seemingly pulped beneath the wheels of a car - and then suddenly the cat was alive… smush! No, now the cat’s dead. For real this time. But Richard had seen what it looked like in death moments before the car hit it.
And yet if predicting the messy deaths of animals sounds creepy, it’s gotten worse. Now Richard’s seeing dead people; people who aren’t actually dead yet but Richard can see them dead, lying on the road, in the park, on the couch, leaking blood and brains. Understandably, it’s screwing him up.
Luckily Alice appears and, even more luckily, Richard can’t see how she dies because she’s already dead. Alice is a ghost (or, as she describes it, she is Richard’s “guardian angel”) and it seems his ‘closeness to death’ is what has brought her through the afterlife doorway to meet him. But before she can explain further, something tall, skeletal, bloody and very evil arrives – some kind of bounty hunter from the Other Side, and it’s not shy about using a gun to slaughter everyone who gets in its way. It was the creature that killed Alice, and now Richard seems to be its new target.
Suddenly, Richard and Alice are on the run with The Bloodyman in relentless pursuit and the hordes of the undead slavering for a piece of Richard’s soul.
Tortured Life is a fantastic new comic series from Neil Gibson, Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard that is currently in its fourth issue. Although the first issue’s ‘I see dead people’ premise is hardly original, once Alice and The Bloodyman arrive on the scene any fears this might be an M. Night Shyamalan rehash go completely out the window. The story moves fast, the dialogue is sharp, the artwork is brisk, effective and viscerally-colourful. In concept, Tortured Life is very reminiscent of the best Clive Barker stories while maintaining a gruesome, organ-spewing style all its own.
It might be a comic book, but it reads like a horror movie. And a gorily good one.
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