The Hellbound Web is proud to present a review for Boom! Studios new Hellraiser comic series, written by Clive Barker himself, alongside Chris Monfette, with art by Leonardo Manco. This review was written May 2011.
In our review of the first issue of Boom! Studios Hellraiser comic we pondered whether there was too much Cenobite action, at the expense of the human characters but speculated that this second issue might rectify that. We are happy to report that this is very much the case as the two issues compliment each other perfectly in setting up the events that are about to unfold. Where the first issue deals with the perspective of the Cenobites, also clearly designed to bring horror fans into the comic world, this second issue focuses almost entirely on Kirsty Cotton and her Harrowers, would an almost obligatory cameo from Pinhead himself.
Kirsty has clearly changed a lot down the years, and arguably demonstrates a darker streak than we saw in the fifth cinematic sequel, Hellseeker. The Kirsty we meet here takes a “the ends justify the means” approach to her work, which happens to be tracking down Lemarchand's puzzles and destroying them and the Cenobites they summon. This gives the character a harder edge although we still see her vulnerable side. Dialogue is bound to appeal to Kirsty/Pinhead shippers whilst fans of Barker's other work will notice some interesting references. The other Harrowers are given some broad characterisation, although we don't learn too much about them here, but they serve a purpose and highlight the kind of life Kirsty now leads.
This issue sees a debut for two new Cenobites of sorts, highly demonic creatures, one of which is very spider-like. These are obviously very different to the traditional Cenobite style and perhaps offers a further look into how Barker aims to re-imagine the franchise he created. The art design is both detailed and horrific however, and the dialogue for these creations has a suitably poetic slant to it. It remains to be seen if any further Cenobites will appear, and whether they will have a more traditional look to them or not.
The artwork then is as excellent as it was in the previous issue. There's some particularly disturbing and striking imagery, notably in the fate of the family who owned the Carousel puzzle. A scene with Kirsty in the shower is also suitably, and tastefully, depicted and really emphasises the emotions she's feeling at that time. The art and dialogue continue to complement each other perfectly, and thus serve to strengthen the narrative as a whole.
If there is anything to criticise it is perhaps the effectiveness of the Harrowers as a group. The story seems to suggest they have been doing this for some time, and have had much success and whilst Hell should never be taken lightly, the groups tactics seemed somewhat haphazard. I would also question why they simply did not steal the puzzle to unleash its horrors away from innocents? As mentioned previously, the other Harrowers were perhaps a little under written as well, but the focus on Kirsty more than makes up for this.
“Pursuit of the Flesh Part II” is the perfect companion to the first part of this tale. We have now seen both the Cenobites world and Kirstys, and the manipulations that are bringing them together are clearly continuing. The characters are in place, the world has been explored and established and the stage is set for the narrative to strive forward into new and terrifying territories. What these may be, we cannot yet see, but on the strength of the story so far, this should be something fans can really sink their teeth into. Overall, The Hellbound Web gives this issue Four out of Five Hooks.
The Hellbound Web would like to thank Boom! Studios for the oppurtunity to be a part of this exciting time for Hellraiser fans everywhere. Also make sure to check out our review for the free Prelude Issue "At the Tolling of a Bell" which is FREE to DOWNLOAD from this very site! Clive Barker's Hellraiser #2 is available now.
Boom! Studios Official Website