Another horror title I got hold of recently was Tortured Life from T Pub and after being pleasantly surprised by their Twisted Dark Anthologies I had high hopes for this six-parter.
While it starts with a fairly ordinary setup as our main character Richard seems to be going through the motions of his everyday life we soon find out that he’s no ordinary guy. We find out that his day-to-day life of work and relationships turned sour when he started having visions of death. Pets & people flashed in front of his eyes in both their alive and dead state and when these started becoming reality the normal life ended. Becoming a recluse he’s cut himself off from the outside world but an attempt to end it all brings him face to face with Alice…..the one person he sees as alive…….only she’s already dead.
Writer Neil Gibson sets the premise up well in what was initially planned to be a one-shot release but after a positive response……a Kickstarter began which let this become much more. Neil passed the writing reigns to Dan Watters for issues #2-6 and this is where things became deeper, darker & more disturbed. The line between life & death become more blurred as Richard and Alice face the all-out attack from The Bloodyman…..an evil, murdering demon-like enemy with his sights set on poor Richard.
Working under the employment of strange cult The Order – the Bloodyman takes no prisoners and while Richard manages to escape he’s soon on his own and pulled into an intricate plot of murder, religion, immortality and the corruption of power. Alice’s Dad, a Police Commander, plays a part in that too and Richard soon finds out just as much about his own past as the reasons behind is importance to The Order and just what part Alice’s Dad played in that.
Richard is finally captured and there’s some further surprises as the six issues close out and lead to a bittersweet ending that rounds off one of the most satisfying reads I’ve had in a while. Smart, brutal, horrific but somehow funny in places too makes this a well-rounded tale that’s not just out for those gruesome kills….although there’s quite a few of those.
Neil & Dan sweep us up in the twists & turns of the plot and Tortured Life becomes an instant page-turner while the art from Caspar Wijngaard with colours from Jan Wijngaard complete the package as the terror & revelations in the book are beautifully gory in their execution. The darkness of the evil elements and the thrill of the chase are all rendered perfectly as the story draws you deeper and deeper into it. Smart pacing, great characters and the combination of shocks and cliffhangers make this a stunning addition to the T Pub list of titles.