Tortured Life

Tortured Life - Dan Watters, Caspar Wijngaard, Neil Gibson

[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A harsh but fascinating story about Richard, a young man who's able to see how people around him will die. It starts with animals, then expands to everybody he meets, ending up in him retreating from the world and the horrors he keeps seeing. Until the day he meets Alice, and crosses path with the Bloodyman, leaving a trail of dead people behind him.

This comic book weaves several themes, not only death and the ability to see it; scientific experiments are one of those, and while this may seem like an odd mix at first, the plot manages to gather them all up in a way that actually makes sense. It is terrifying and bittersweet; bringing slivers of hope, only to have them smothered by more despair and helplessness. Richard struggles to understand what's happening to him, yet every time a bit is unveiled, something or someone else is taken from him, until only the dead remain. The dead, and truth.

I also liked that the beginning doesn't dwell too long on what Richard's life had been before: just enough to see what he lost, and how he then started losing himself, before everything starts going down the drain for good.

Although the artwork is sometimes stiff, it still definitely conveys all the gruesomness of death, murder, dismembered bodies and rotting guts. The Bloodyman is creepy as hell, humming tunes as he goes about killing again and again, clearly methodical in the madness he's lost himself in long ago. The bittersweet ending may or may not be a good thing; personally, I quite liked it, as I wasn't sure what other outcome could have sprung out of this story (at least, a totally happy ending didn't seem fitting).