Comic book story compilations can be something spectacular. Just look at “Dark Horse Presents” or the ever popular “Tales from the Crypt.” Of course, there are times when compilations can be lackluster. One of the most egregious examples is Neil Gibson’s “Twisted Dark Volume 3.”
The true strength in this collection is that many of the stories intertwine with each other and have the same theme of horrible people doing horrible things. What can be said about Gibson is that he understands how to intertwine stories and has a flare for the horrible. He also understands how to keep a theme throughout a collection. Each story feels like they belong.
The problem arises when you look at what the comics actually are. Many of them like “Drink Driving,” “Perfection” and “Lifeboat” are way too preachy. If there’s one sin any fiction writer can do is shove their beliefs down a reader’s throat. If these messages were subtlety done then that would’ve been fine. Instead these are like those PSAs at the end of 80s cartoons.
The other non-preachy comics are either dull or don’t go anywhere. They have some interesting premises, but the execution falls flat. Another problem that Gibson has is he doesn’t quite understand how to write a story. Many comics read more like scenes from a much bigger story than full stories themselves.
Gibson also employs multiple artists to draw his comics. Some artists do a decent job like Atula Siriwardane and Jan Wijngaard. Others draw some really ugly and hard to stomach art like Casper Wijingaard and Jake Elphick.
Overall, “Twisted Dark Volume 3” has some interesting ideas, but they all fall flat due to over-preachyness, lack of formatting or downright boring. The hit or miss art also makes this collection not worth the paper it’s written on. Not even the Crypt Keeper will take a second look at this collection.