Split #2

Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2007
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Split #2 Creator(s): Brad Gottschalk
Publishers: Silent Theater
From: USA
Price: US $3.

Many of the concerns I voiced in my review of ‘Split #1” remain concerns in this second edition. It still has some visual issues that worry me.

What is captivating though is the opportunity we are given here to follow and observe the way an ordinary person deals with trauma and that we see two versions of this adds an extra dimension to this insight.

Neither path, it has to be said, is that attractive, and this edition is dominated on how the trauma detailed in #1 effects Tom’s relationships with those he loves and his fellow workers. To say that tensions exist is an understatement.

As if to reflect this the presentation of the characters grows increasingly grotesque, to the point where some of them appear corpse or zombie like. At times this means that the comic gets pretty close to a graphic representation of a horrific nightmare.

The parallel structure is still an excellent concept but remains hard work especially as the two paths often seem to be quite similar in their bleakness and therefore the contrast sometimes wanes.

The experimentation continues but is sometimes a little confusing. I still don’t fully understand why the sudden change in media from pen to what looks like crayon. At times the experimentation into abstract art and narrative comes close to destroying understanding. What does remain though is an almost ‘Munch’ like feeling of despair that dominates each and every page. I still have yet to fully warm to Tom and the air of sterility and abandonment of hope that prevails here is becoming oppressive to the point of suffocation.

It is clear that Tom is slipping towards a nervous breakdown [at the very least] and charting his demise is a fascinating concept but it also requires carefully taking the reader along for the ride and as yet that has not happened.

In a Word: Restricted.

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