The Hellbound Web
Clive Barker's Hellraiser Prelude:
At the Tolling of a Bell
Review by Scarecrow

Clive Barker Hellraiser Prelude Cover
The Hellbound Web is proud to present a review for the special prelude issue of Boom! Studios brand new Hellraiser comics, written by Clive Barker and Chris Monfette, with art by Leonardo Manco. The prelude is FREE to DOWNLOAD from The Hellbound Web! This review was written 21st March 2011.

The 23rd March 2011 marks not only the return of the Hellraiser franchise to the medium of comics, but also the return of Clive Barker himself to the Hellraiser mythology. Teaming up with Boom Studios and the writer Christopher Monfette, Clive Barker has returned to the world he helped create over two decades ago, in a brand new series of comics. To mark this special occasion, Boom have decided to unleashed a free prequel comic onto the world. This is not simply a preview or an extract, this is a complete, brand new and original short comic featuring the lead Cenobite himself, Pinhead. This is a brilliant move on Boom's part, allowing readers a taster of what they can expect and raising the series profile across the internet. They're tapping into every resource and popular medium, emphasising that fans can the share this comic via Facebook, emails and even torrents.

The story is titled "At the Tolling of a Bell" and is set in a penitentiary that is closing down, the inmates being moved elsewhere, with one final man about to be executed. The building is deserted but for the death row inmate, named William Boyle, and the priest that is overseeing the execution. The priest offers the condemned Boyle the puzzle box as a final means of salvation. Once the box is opened, Pinhead arrives and delivers some of Hell's wisdom and an accompaniment of plenty of violent imagery.

Prelude Page

As a free prelude to the main storyline, this is not long story, running to eight pages, and therefore there is, understandably, not too much depth to the storyline. However, Barker and Monfette make excellent use of the limited time, throwing in some fantastic Pinhead dialogue and some wonderful details that long term fans will enjoy. This is first and foremost a showcase for the breathtaking art, and various shades of red are splashed across almost every panel once the Lead Cenobite turns up.

As a character, Pinhead is certainly more talkative than in his appearances in the early films, but also much more evocative, and perhaps contemplative. This Pinhead is very much a living breathing character, somewhere between the more poetic aspects of Hell On Earth and the early EPIC Hellraiser comic series. His position within Hell, that of a servant, is also revisited, and is a pleasing direction for fans who feared the Leviathan mythology might be cast aside and Pinhead elevated to Lord of Hell.

Overall, this was a interesting, horrific short and an excellent taster for the main series. If you have any doubts, give this a try and we can guarantee you'll be hungry for more. We'd give this free prelude "At the Tolling of a Bell" a well deserved Four Hooks out of Five.

The Hellbound Web would like to thank Boom! Studios for the oppurtunity to be a part of this exciting time for Hellraiser fans everywhere. We will continue to provide reviews for the further comics releases, both on the site and on our Youtube Channel. Also make sure to check out our review for the first issue, "Pursuit of the Flesh, Part One"! Clive Barker's Hellraiser #1 is available now from all good comic book stores and online.

- Scarecrow

Boom! Studios Official Website