It has been a few years since Theatrics’ first performance graced our digital desks, but this week we check out the 2nd volume of writer Neil Gibson and TPub’s incredible webcomic, Theatrics. Continuing the story of an actor reinventing himself after a life changing attack, can Theatrics take it’s now to a standing ovation or will its final act struggle to draw the crowds
Publisher: TPub Comics
Writer: Neil Gibson
Artist: Leonardo Gonzales (Pencils/Inker), Jan Wijngaard (Colorist), Jim Campbell (Letterer)
Price: Coming Soon to Kickstarter
Picking up where Volume 1 left off, Theatrics follows Rudy Jones who has found himself a new lease on life after the disfiguring attack which almost destroyed him. Playing the part of the mad ‘count’, Rudy has become a popular fighter around the city, supported and encouraged by his loyal friend Sam. However, when a face from his past resurfaces, Rudy’s life and newest role begins to unravel as he begins to learn that appearance isn’t everything and that in real life, everyone is acting.
Neil Gibson continues Theatrics with more the gripping drama which continued to leave me totally engrossed. While the return to this world is a little disorienting give the time gap between both volumes, Gibson’s command of the story and memorable characters made it easy to get back into the swing of things as the memories quickly flooded back. Unlike with the first volume though, which was very much a ‘rags to riches’ tale, this instalment feels a lot more complex and containing many more shades of grey. This is particularly prevalent in the supporting cast as both Stephanie and Sam feel like different sides of the same coin, both switching from hero to villain and back again in contrast to the other. It is this which showcases the strength of Gibson’s writing as you are never entirely sure what everyone’s motives are while secrets, which seem so obvious in hindsight, are complete twists upon their reveal. This begs the question about whether Theatrics is less about Rudy and more about the world around him as it becomes clear that he might be the only character whose real/private persona isn’t an act. This volume caps the entire series with a truly tragic ending that, again in hindsight, seems like the only place the tale could go. However, Gibson uses it to full effect in order to garner all sympathy and worry for Rudy’s outcome.
Of course, the biggest draw of volume 1 was the fantastic art and volume 2 doesn’t change that notion one bit. Leonardo Gonazales’ art continues to be every bit as gorgeous here as it did the first time round. His style has an incredibly realistic but heighten vibe to it, playing into the theatricality of every aspect of the story. This is no better shown than during the fight with the champion, where the emotional turmoil of the various players takes on a grander physical positioning. Meanwhile, Jan Wijngaard’s colours are beautiful throughout the story, with the muted tones giving it all a very depression-era look. Finally, Jim Campbell offers up some solid lettering which really stands out and heightens the story’s theatrical tone.
With incredible writing and unbelievable artwork, TPub have put together a fantastic finale for Theatrics. This has been a Webcomic which has been a captivating read all the way to the final curtain and, while there probably won’t be an encore, this read is more than worth the price of admission.