After #3 of Neil Gibson’s gruesome horror miniseries ended on a cliff-hanger, it’s certainly a bold move not to jump straight into where the previous one left off but instead to offer a nineteen page (nearly half the issue) insight into villain’s back story.
Psychopathic serial killer Gustav was not always an evil villain, see. He was actually a very talented prop designer who just wanted to be loved. But after being rejected, and entering into an unhappy marriage, he decided that the best way to deal with his loneliness is to buy a life sized doll. Too bad he soon grows so attached to the doll that he defends it from his wife as he tries to destroy it, whacking her over the head with a metal pipe. Needless to say, she does not get up again.
This intro feels kind of like a reward to fans of the series. In #1, we learn very little about Gustav, who initially appears as a shadowy and mysterious character. In #2 and 3, we are offered some more glimpses of the character, which only leave us more and more desperate to know about him and his past. So in #4, we finally get what we have been waiting for, an in-depth look into who he is. It is often said that the key to a successful story is an interesting villain and here we have a character so disturbingly crazy he makes Hannibal Lector look like a pantomime villain.
Back to the present, and Gustav is ready to go about transferring Tabatha’s essence into Baily’s body, i.e he is preparing to kill her. He is not deterred by the moral issues of what is is about to do, because as Einstein said, “great spirits have always encountered oppression from mediocre minds.” When (SPOILER WARNING) Gustav meets his demise, it’s hard not to feel at least a hint of sympathy for him. After all, he was only acting in the name of love (albeit love for an inanimate doll who he believed to be alive). Oh, and our villain also happens to have a liking for Thai Green Curry.
The tongue-in-cheek tone of the series is very much intact. Here, Gibson seems to acknowledge that in real life there can be no fearless heroes barging in to save the day, as Luke, after having his hand severed, wants to wield a chainsaw like Ash from the Evil Dead series, before rejecting the ideas as “too silly”. And after misleading the viewer into believing that the series will have a happy ending with everyone smiling and celebrating, before abruptly teaching us one of life’s hardest lessons: in reality, there are no happy endings.
A slight flaw with Tabatha #4 is that the way that the story’s conclusion itself seems a little rushed, if it were not for the lengthy flashback section at the beginning it could have been compressed into the end of #3. Having said that, however, when the story does reach its blood-soaked conclusion, you really cannot think of a better way for the four issue story arc to end. Put simply, Neil Gibson knows how to write comics.
By the way, for anyone that says that comics are for kids, Tabatha #4 contains one of the most disturbing and cringe worthy moments I have ever seen in a comic, surpassing even the works of Garth Ennis. Let’s just say it involves somebody’s radius bone. Yes, I did have to look the name of the bone up.
Find out more about Tabatha here.