by Don Aliff “I go through life on autopilot. I eat, I sleep, I brush my friggin' teeth. I go through all the functions that normal people do, only I'm not normal. But it doesn't matter anymore because today...today I die,” says a severely depressed Richard in the introduction as he looks numbly at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. The first issue of Tortured Life starts in absolutely brilliant fashion.
Richard is a pretty typical guy. He has a comfortable life with a steady job, a girlfriend, a social life, interests, etc. It's the kind of existence that isn't all that special considering how so many people choose to live that way, but it is fulfilling regardless. In short, Richard was happy, healthy, and he couldn't wish for much more.
However, in one moment it all changes and his life takes a turn for the strange and the morbid. Though this first issue is largely just setting up the premise for the series, I don't want to spoil too much for you. So let's just say it gets grim. He has suddenly inherited a terrifying and unexplained "power" and it ruins his life.
But then, he meets the one person who seems immune to his new "gift," an intriguing blonde stranger in a white dress. She strolls directly up to him and the last panels nail the issue out brilliantly. After all the build up, it's a great cliffhanger! It definitely piques your interest and makes you want to read more. Writer Neil Gibson and artist Caspar Wijngaard should be proud of crafting such a strong introduction.
Speaking of the artist, the visuals are fantastic. It reminds me of a sketchbook with many a hard line and gritty edge. It's an art style that perfectly complements the grisly nature of many of the death visions. The dismal color palette reflects Richard's mental state perfectly.
Gibson's self-owned T-Publications should also receive some props. The physical issue itself is of very high quality. Thick glossy pages and a sturdy cover make for a quality product. You can tell that they really put an effort into it.
Tortured Life so far is a treat. Definitely worth your time. Go pick up this issue and any subsequent ones. I know I will.
TL;DR: A strong intro to new series with great art in a beautiful package. Definitely worth your time.
Tortured Life is written by Neil Gibson with art by Caspar Wijngaard. Self-published by their house, T-Publications, you can read the first issue free online, though we would definitely recommend contacting the creators about purchasing a copy. Do you need Beth to start talking about her love for paper again? Just do it.
A free copy of Tortured Life was obtained by Spandexless for this review.
Don Aliff graduated from Central Connecticut State University in 2010. Since then he has dubbed himself a Professional Dreamer. You can usually find him reading, writing, performing music all over Connecticut, or passed out in the corner somewhere. Ask him to tell you a story sometime.