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 Stephen Thompson and Janusz Ordon. This review was written November 2011.
Hiatus. As a word it can be defined as a brief pause, a gap, a moment between two points. Often seen with a negative connotation but perhaps, in this case, a suitable description for what is ultimately the penultimate instalment of an arc that will eventually span the first eight issues of Boom Studios new ongoing Hellraiser series. That is not to say, nothing happens here. Quite the contrary, we get blood, and torture, old faces and new opportunities. Yet this issue feels like a pause of sorts, between Kirsty's monumental choice, and the final climatic confrontation that is yet to come. What matter is the nature of this pause.
This issue, in many ways, echoes the first issue. Whereas there Pinhead and the Female Cenobite ventured through Hell together, now it is Kirsty who accompanies the sacrificial survivor. As witht hat issue, we see sights in Hell unwitnessed before and get a sense of the world as it continues to operate. One concern I had was that this arc seemed to empty Hell, to suggest the Harrowers had destroyed an entire world single handedly, and so it's pleasing to see Cenobites and demons still walking the corridors of the Labyrinth. Equally, another familiar face to long term fans finally gets his name confirmed, and is seen busy in his role - it's a wonderful evocative image and explores some of the aspects of the franchise that are barely touched upon.
"Requiem Part Three" takes full advantage of its position as the penultimate issue. It offers up a vast amount of fan pleasing imagery and story notes. Thus far, it also avoids giving answers to questions fans have debated for years, such as the fate of Larry, Kirsty's father, which is useful in leaving some ambiguity and mileage for different opinions. It also drops hints of where the story might go next, suggesting there are still riddles and plots to be uncovered even as we approach the endgame.
Unusually, this issue features two artists, Stephen Thompson and Janusz Ordon, but their styles mesh well together and the change of artist is never distracting nor takes you out of the narrative. The art is crisp and detailed, and there's a real sense of atmosphere to the Labyrinth. There are a couple of moments where some creatures perhaps look a little too cartoony but otherwise the likenesses are strong and really capture the changing emotions of the characters.
Long term fans may either be delighted or dismayed at an aspect of the depiction of Leviathan, who becomes more central to the story, and who was described as "the God of flesh, hunger and desire" in Hellbound and then depicted along these lines in the EPIC comics. However, the truth of matters remains to be seen, and there's certainly some interesting potential for where things can go next. Pinhead approaches the end of his journey to seek redemption, and we can only wonder not only how pure his intentions are but what other secrets have yet to be revealed.
This issue may be a pause, a moment between the emotional choices and revelations of its predecessor and the grand finale we will no doubt witness in a months time, but this is not a bad thing, not by a long shot. This is a moment of transition, a slow journey towards the inevitable, and that it does this with an ominous, increasingly foreboding tone, and with fan service and action, is only a testament to the skilful crafting of this tale. Without a doubt this issue deserves a full Five Hooks and I can only hope that the climax to this extraordinary arc is as perfectly pitched as the journey leading up to it.
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 #7 is available from November 9th 2011.
Boom! Studios Official Website