The Hellbound Web is proud to present a review for Boom! Studios new Hellraiser comic series, written by Clive Barker himself, alongside Mark Miller, with art by Stephen Thompson and Janusz Ordon. This review was written March 2012.
After an uneven start the “Heaven's Reply” arc has pushed the series in to bold new directions as Pinhead, as Elliot Spenser, pursues his ultimate goal. What that may be however, we are no longer sure. He once proclaimed to seek Heaven but in this issue things are less clear... unless the shaman-like entity he communes with is perhaps an agent of the divine? The final events in Hell perhaps suggest this is at least a possibility. As Barker brought us the destructive God Hapexamendios in his epic novel Imajica, I would not be too surprised to see such an unsettling new interpretation of the Lord turning up in Hellraiser.
As a narrative, this issue is not too climatic. As with the end of “Pursuit of the Flesh” this feels more of a turning point, a moment of transition. I imagine threads will be more resolved in the next four-issue arc that this, we presume, represents the half way point of. It's a strange issue really, as with the penultimate part of “Requiem” it mainly feels like a brief pause in the action. The majority of the comic takes place in a form of dreamscape, as both Kirsty and Elliot visit different entities in different realms. The issue ends with our leads clearly changed, but the world around them at the same point we came in. The sense of anticipation of how things will progress is prominent, and as Hellraiser fans we are genuinely left with no idea what new worlds, horrors and forces are about to be unleashed.
The focus then is on these journeys. The ambiguity of what is happening does leave a sense of detachment, which is perhaps the weakest part of the issue. We do not know what's going on and so it is hard to negotiate events, or fully understand how we might be supposed to feel. That said, Kirsty seems to be on a road to redemption, with the suggestion that Pinhead-dom was not her true destiny, which may set things up for some interesting character development. Equally, it seems Elliot is making a deal that will change the world forever. This issue, I suspect, will have much greater impact when re-read in future, once we can see more of the bigger picture.
The artwork is as strong as ever, with some great visuals. The entity that Kirsty meets is fantastic. It shares an abstract nature with the Harrower Cenobites, but in this case it's utilised more for the characters benefit. The surreal transformations are well depicted, and quite disturbing. There is a strange comical special effect when Kirsty battles her inner monster, which takes you out the comic somewhat and sometimes Elliot's likeness to Doug Bradley feels off. Otherwise though, there is little to criticise in an issue that sets things up to truly expand Hellraiser beyond the dualism of Hell and Earth. The Hellbound Web thus gives this issue a strong Four Hooks out of Five.
The Hellbound Web would like to thank Boom! Studios for the oppurtunity to be a part of this exciting journey for Hellraiser fans everywhere. Clive Barker's Hellraiser #12 is available from March 28th 2012. Discuss this issue on the Hellraiser Forum.
Boom! Studios Official Website