Comic: "Silent Hill: Dying Inside"
Published by: Other
Written by: Scott Ciencin
Artist: Ben Templesmith, Aadi Salman
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Plot: An accomplished therapist is brought in to examine a young woman who was rendered catatonic following a traumatic incident in the town of Silent Hill. Having exhausted all forms of convention therapy, the doctor decides to take the young woman back to Silent Hill in order to show her that the monsters she claimed to have scene are merely figments of her imagination.
Review: Taking stories from video games and adapting them into comic books is hard. I donít have any personal experience with the matter, but I have to assume itís difficult because of how mediocre comics based off games have turned out in the past.
In the case of Silent Hill Ė Dying Inside, the story is completely unrelated to the games, apart from the titular town. Itís just as well; I donít think too many of the scares from the game would work as well when theyíre repeated on the pages of a comic book. Instead, the story told throughout Dying Inside is concerned with a number of people who wind up in Silent Hill for one reason or another, and are then beset by all manner of unearthly horrors.
Certainly the setup for the story is reminiscent of something from the SH franchise, but everything that comes after just doesnít seem to hit the mark. Not long into the first book, youíre presented with the idea that the myriad creatures in Silent Hill are under the command of a little girl with a bloody dress and an unusually foul mouth. From then on, the horror in the book is derived mostly from mutilations, and the threat of even more mutilations to come. This seems in stark contrast to the games, wherein the horror comes from the stark sense of isolation, coupled with the fear of the unknown. Itís understandably difficult to translate that sort of atmospheric horror to a comic book, but just having a series of brutal monster attacks is still a poor attempt.
The book tries to mimic the games by having monsters that are mirrored from the damaged psyches of the people in Silent Hill, but writer Scott Ciencin doesnít do much with that idea. One character is menaced by monsters that look like his wife and a guy he used to know, but aside from that, everything else is just a horrific creature bent on killing and eating people. Good for just a straight horror story, not necessarily for something that claims to be part of the Silent Hill franchise.
And any scares or lingering sense of dread thatís still left is ruined by the artwork in the book. The first two issues are illustrated by Ben Templesmith, whom you may remember as being behind the art for the Dead Space comic. I have to assume the guy knows something about art that I donít in order to keep getting work, because it sure looks like he has once again taken some rough pencil sketches and filled them in with soft-edged blobs of color. Ben did the art for the first two issues, with the last three being illustrated by Aadi Salman. I canít decide if Salman is better or worse than Templesmith, because his art fluctuated wildly between semi-distinct character art and full-on smear upon smear. He seemed to prefer the latter, to the point where many of the action sequences in the story are so obscure that I couldnít tell if a person was being torn to shreds, or if they had escaped and I was simply looking at an empty space. That kind of took me out of the story a bit.
Overall, I suppose it isnít a bad story. The thing that stood out the most, though, was the disconnect between the first two issues and the last three. They concern two different groups of people, and while there are a few nods to bridge the gap, it almost seems as though the writer was preparing for the comic to end after issue #2, since that issue provides closure to the story and only hints at a followup. Perhaps the writer threatened to walk unless he was given another artist to work with. If that was the case, then let it be a reminder to you all: be careful what you wish for.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
Dr. Boogie, my Xbox 360 just went nuts two days ago with an error with the graphics processor, but I have intentions of applying the warranty services to deal with it. Once I get it repaired I'm thinking about getting Silent Hill Homecoming, but I'd like to know if it's worth it (I'm have not played many horror games).
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