Review - Tales from the Dark Side #1 (@IDWPublishing)

"Ever have that feeling that you're sleepwalking through your life? Floating from one moment to the next without any real consequences or purpose?"

Our decisions define us. Whether we're generous or stingy, naughty or nice, it all plays a part in how we act and people react to us. Sometimes it takes something otherworldly to change us and that something happens in Tales from the Dark Side #1 from IDW Publishing. The issue is written by Joe Hill (adaptation by Michael Benedetto), illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, colored by Ryan Hill and lettered by Robbie Robbins.

Three stories of the macabre and malevolent! One coulda-been, shoulda-been TV epic on paper with pictures that don't move! Step out of the warm, sunlit world you think of as reality and get ready to take a chilling walk...on the Darkside.

It's no secret that Hill has a way of making the mundane seem terrifying and that's what works exceptionally well in Tales from the Dark Side #1. Ziggy is a guy who seemingly has it all, but do to some rather mysterious circumstances is forced to contend with an ability that's beyond his control. Hill's pacing in this regard is masterful as he slowly builds up the plot to a point where Ziggy's curse is emotionally painful for him to endure. The issue is very succinct character arc for Ziggy that Hill captures beautifully--even as he offers up a relatively poignant ending. And there's a ton of dialogue crammed into the issue, but Hill ensures that each exchange is valuable to keeping things moving forward.

There's a simplicity to the artistic approach by Rodriguez that belies something much more complex. His style evokes comparisons to comics such as Tales from the Crypt, in that characters are illustrated with something of an exaggerated emotional state at times. It works very well within the context of the book and provides plenty of context for the reader to be immersed in Ziggy's world. Each panel is deliberately framed in a way that makes the characters stand out prominently and expressively. Hill's colors are washed out in the issue in a way that contributes to the seeming dreamlike state that Ziggy finds himself him.

Tales from the Dark Side #1 is a brilliant first issue that moves through the plot methodically to a very emotional conclusion. Ziggy transforms from a bro into something more by the end of the issue--even if it's not entirely by choice. Hill's script is very straightforward but layered, offering a deep look at the consequences of our actions. The artwork by Rodriguez is strong and imbue the book with just enough of a supernatural touch to make it feel eerie. Tales from the Dark Side #1 is worth a read if you're a fan of properties like the Twilight Zone.

Tales from the Dark Side #1 is in stores now.