- Paperback: 164 pages
- Publisher: T Pub (December 8, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1943092761
- ISBN-13: 978-1943092765
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.5 x 10.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,407,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tortured Life Paperback – December 8, 2015
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We start a bit slowly, and I had some concern that we'd have an extended run of poor-mopey-Richard before anything happened. Very unfair of me. Of course we have to have some dull and boring Richard at the outset in order to set the table for the horror to follow.
As you know from the blurbs, Richard develops the terrifying "gift" of knowing how, although not when or why, every living thing he sees is going to die. This is well done in the drawing. Richard meets someone in the first panel and in the second panel that person now looks like how he's going to look when dead. You get a strong disorienting visual sense of what's happening to Richard, which is a pretty sharp approach. Sometimes you get a full page or two page spread of Richard in an open area, and he's surrounded by scores of dead people, each displaying his or her or its manner of death. Ghastly and unnerving, which is the point.
MILD SPOILERS - Once that premise has been firmly established we switch to the "why?" and then the "what will happen to Richard next?". A number of interesting characters come on board to help flesh all of that out, although the two strongest are dead Alice and gruesome Bloodyman. Alice gives Richard someone to talk to and Bloodyman gives Richard someone to run away from, which is really sort of all you need. There is a huge backstory/plot that ties everything together, but well timed exposition keeps the reader on the rails as that is played out.
I'm generally O.K. with ambiguity and quantum double talk and all that, but here we have a crsip and coherent story in which loose ends are tied up as they appear and you almost always know what's going on even as things get weirder and weirder and more complicated. Given that the story is already dark and violent I'm happy it's not also incoherent. And this is pretty violent, with a rather substantial body count. (When a character called Bloodyman hums a tune to himself about splattered body parts I guess you should expect that.)
So, this is an ambitious, well-written and drawn, and very accessible horror/mystery/action thriller with a decent regular guy hero. I'm good with that.
Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-52-days Adobe ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
We meet Richard as he is about to commit suicide. He's had a bad year with his job and his girlfriend, but that's not the worst of it. He's begun seeing how people die, in all it's gruesomeness. Some are old, but some are disfigured by the violence of accidents or crimes. It's driving him slowly insane. As he is about to complete his own death, he meets a strange young woman named Alice. She needs his help, but they suddenly find themselves on the run from someone called the Bloodyman, a gruesome nightmare that seems to enjoy violent death. Richard finds wrapped further and further into this and discovers strange things that may have to do with his own past.
It's a good horror story with lots of gruesomeness in it. I liked where the story went, but I wanted more of certain characters, and less of others. Also, in my digital copy, whenever Bloodyman has dialogue, it's red print on a black background, so I was difficult to read, but that's minor complaint for a decent story.
I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, TPub, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.
This graphic novel is visually appealing. Well, for me, the gory parts aren’t so much, but you know what I mean. Horror isn’t my main genre. It’s not even in the top five, but I like the artwork. What? I’m no art aficionado. I don’t wax poetic about shizzle. I like stuff or I don’t. Horror fans will probably swoon over it though.
The story is an interesting one. Poor Richard has suddenly developed the ability to see how everyone dies. It’s practically driven him ‘round the bend. His life is shot to hell. He’s tried to end it all, but hasn’t. Then Alice comes to him. But so does the Bloodyman. Next thing Richard knows his life has spiraled even further out of control, but at least he finally gets some answers. The door closes on this story. I’m told it’s meant to be a standalone and it is. However, there is a possibility of a sequel in the works. In the words of Spock…Fascinating.
Tortured Life has elements of Hellboy and Dead Zone, although I didn't realize that the story took place in England until I was midway through the second chapter. The story picks up and skids to a stop intermittently, mostly because one character's dialogue and its flashback font are written into the black, dour panels in an almost illegible way. The ending was very unexpected, confounded, and abrupt, but the bonus features at the end of the comic featured a bubblegum Alice cover and that cheered me up mightily.