Alright, the first story involving Troy Abernathy and his patient Lynn being terrorized by a foul mouthed little girl has wrapped up, and a new story starts with Lauryn and her gang of hardcore college goth/bikers. Templesmith is out and Aadi Salman is in, with Scott Ciencin still writing. Let’s rush right into the recap (it’s a doosy) this week so we can get to analysis.

Summary: Lauryn, a red hair “goth” (?) chick with a “bad attitude” internal monologue, her boyfriend Clown, his brother, Payne, who she’s cheating on Clown with, a heavy, Hogg, and a bunch of other gothic red-shirts. They arrive with the very logically shaky plan to get rich off of some runes scribbled on the walls of a building in the town using some book, presumably one of those copies of the necronomicon that you find in new age book stores. Right away Lauryn tells them all that there is nothing to fear, what happened to Lynn was probably all done by her friends (Lauryn says that she was probably gang raped and witnessed a murder, and that  “I could care less what happened to her”) and that the town is just abandoned. When Clown points out that this doesn’t make any sense based on what was shown on the tape, she just tells him to trust her.

Shortly after this, red-shirt number one gets it while walking off by himself,  and Christabella appears saying “No One Leaves, BAUAHAHAHAHAHA!” (more or less). Lauryn has a vision of being in Doctor Troy’s office where he tells her to “Start believing in the power of Silent Hill”, and she runs off by herself with Payne to start making out behind Clown’s back. Then all hell breaks loose as the group separates (to the Subway, the School, and the Lighthouse). Lauryn and the other characters with names are ambushed by Christabella, the subway gang are taken by a fat monster and Dr. Troy, and the rest are never heard from again. Christabella is gloating a bit and Lauryn says “It’s about time” (indicating that this is the real reason why she came here) and starts using her ‘Book of Shadows’ (that was totally purchased off eBay and totally not from Hot Topic, I might add) to start burning Christabella alive (or dead, I guess, they never really answer the what or the why of Christabella). It doesn’t work, obviously, and they run away.

Now we get down to the brass tacks. Lauryn lied to all her supposed friends in order to get a posse to come with her to finish off her little sister, Christabella, whose death has haunted her most of her life. As it turns out, Lauryn and Christabella where both born in Silent Hill, and one night when Lauryn was supposed to be watching her little sister, she decided to let her go off with some little boys she didn’t know so she could spend some time alone with her boyfriend (not Clown at the time, obviously), and said that the little boys turned out to be working for some serial killers who like children. Lauryn then left Silent Hill and has blamed herself ever since.

So, as they head off to try and find what’s left of their crew, they get attacked by a giant flying monster thing and Clown and Payne get knocked unconscious (Hogg went off to the lighthouse by himself earlier, brain trust that he is). With Christabella’s forces closing in, Lauryn decides to pull out her ace: she had “marked” all of the people she brought, so when they died they would serve her as thralls, and she summons them to her side.

“Warriors, come OUT AND PLAAAAYYY!”

As the battle rages, even Christabella finds this action a little cold, remarking “I know I killed them, but they were your friends…”. Soon Christabella holds Lauryn’s boyfriends hostage and says that Lauryn has to help her (there are some real gems of one-liners from Christabella around this time as well) or she’ll kill them as well. Lauryn concedes and marches toward the Lighthouse with her army of ghouls, who say that they hold no hard feelings about the whole leading them here like lambs to the slaughter (oh, so that makes it okay). Lauryn reaches the Lighthouse, and with that this comic loses what once may have counted for some since of control. I’ll try my best to wrap it up.

So, anyone familiar with Silent Hill knows that the lighthouse is said to contain Alessa (at least I believe I remember that from the first game). Christabella wants her taken out so she can reign supreme. The Order (the cult of Silent Hill responsible for its hellish aspects) shows up to stop her, blah blah blah, a lot of incoherent crap later, Lauryn is victorious over her sister and the town and the Order and decides to stay in Silent Hill to reign supreme with her new voodoo powers or some shit.

Art: At first, everything was looking up. People had distinct images and proportions. For the first few pages anyway. Then the whole comic descends into a madness of blurred action and faces (and really poor coloring choices). It’s the main reason why the last chapter is so god damned hard to comprehend. Again, I get the need to be expressive and surreal, but this was neither, it was just a mess. One that made you question why you were still reading the comic.

Writing: Oh boy. As much as Scotty boy botched the first part, this is a whole new level of insipid. But really, it boils down to three problems with one common root. Ceincin doesn’t understand Silent Hill.

PROBLEM ONE: Silent Hill is largely about feeling alone. The feeling of isolation that was prevalent in the first few games is so absent here that it may as well not be in the town anymore (also see Silent Hill Homecoming and the movie). Without that feeling of utter helplessness, of being the last person in a world filled with emptiness, with only the occasional horror of horrors to keep you company, Silent Hill almost becomes stock horror. And yes, having one or two other “human” characters has always been prevalent, but they aren’t always with you, and even when they are, you still tend to feel alone (mostly because you suspect that they might kill you at any moment or they are a figment of your imagination).

PROBLEM TWO: Silent Hill is about character reflection. The town only appears that way because you are there and have some horrible psychological trauma (usually). And through the town, the protagonist makes a journey of discovery that will relate back to them. Throughout, you grow to like them or at least pity them. This works through slow reveals about their past and their reactions to the obstacles of Silent Hill. It’s called character development. Something that apparently, Dying Inside had no room for. From page one of chapter three you pretty much hate Lauryn, someone you are supposed to feel sorry for and root for as she triumphs at the end. But through her attitude and actions Ciencin paints a portrait of a woman who doesn’t care about her friends or her family and would drop them into a meat grinder without a second thought if she got something out of it. And because of this I can’t help but think that at the end, Silent Hill may have been just as screwed if Christabella or even the Order had maintained control. Not only do we not care about Lauryn, but we hate her.

PROBLEM THREE: Silent Hill is NOT a traditional horror setting. Okay, to be fair, I like Christabella as a cheesy horror villain, and I like the idea of Troy Abernathy being forced to atone for his wrongdoings by serving her, but it just doesn’t belong in this setting. And the whole occult aspect starts out as confusing and just gets stupid. It leads to ridiculous on nonsensical crap action sequences, and has no other significance to the story. I half expected Lauryn’s hair to turn blonde and for her to go flying around Silent Hill, Super Saiyan style.

“This comics crap level is over 9000! (I’m so sorry)..”

It’s painfully obvious that Ciencin really didn’t know what to do with this setting and just pulled some generic horror/occult drama crap out of his ass. He removed all that made Silent Hill frightening, unique and interesting, and replaced it with a story that belongs in a Sci-Fi Original Movie.

Overall: Dying Inside is a horrible failure of adaptation, art, and just storytelling in general. It does not bode well that all the other comics, from what I have heard, are written by Scott Ciencin. If I was someone who didn’t read comic books and was just interested in this because of the license, I would probably never read comic books ever again (a bit of hyperbole, but I hope you get my point).

However, I do believe that this great medium could still produce something worthy of the franchise, as despite all the crap this comic had a few promising ideas. Next Week, I will discuss them and how they could be done better at length. See you then.