Comic Book Reviews - Hellraiser Vol. 1 Review
Category: Boom Studios Reviews, Comic Book Reviews
Writer: Clive Barker and Christopher Monfette
I was a twisted little boy who got into horror at a very young age. I started reading early and beyond my level, and one of my first favorites was the other master of horror, Clive Barker. I read everything of his I could get a hold of, and in 1987, little 11 year old me went to see Hellraiser in the theater and loved every blood gushing moment.
After the disappointment of every Hellraiser film after the second one (only seven horrible sequels that felt less and less like the original? It feels like so much more) I was really worried about what I’d find once I started reading this. Clive Barker’s name in the credits reassured me a bit, but there was still some concern. Could even the master himself bring me a worthy follow up to one of the masterpieces of my childhood?
The 11 year old me says F$@! yeah! There was blood, and skinnings, and bodies ripping, and all kinds of nasty stuff. But there’s also so much more.
The story here is solid and meaty, truly adding new depth and layers to the original. This is the most complete and fleshed out this world has felt. I really like the direction this seems to be going in. It’s creating a new path for these characters while also filling in more of the backstory. It’s very cool to see Kirsty again after 20-something years (yes, I’m purposely ignoring her appearance in Hellraiser 6) and how everything she’s been through has affected her. Without giving away too much, she has gathered up a group of other Cenobite survivors and is actively working to stop them for good. This gives the story some real purpose. This type of story could easily fall into the monotony of torture porn where “people find box, people get ripped to pieces” each issue, but Barker has crafted an ongoing story for both Kirsty and Pinhead that gives each a more complicated role to play.
My only complaint on the story side is that it took a while to introduce the cast of main supporting characters, and shortly after we meet them Kirsty goes running off on her own and we don’t get to see them much again. It was really interesting to see their introductions to the devices and the Cenobites and I’d like to get to know these characters better.
The art is exactly what it needs to be. It has a rough, dirty, realistic feel that perfectly fits the tone of the story. The colors are suitably dark and dreary, with blood probably being the brightest and most colorful thing.
It’s a lot easier to write a bad review than I good one. I could go on forever in a bad one picking apart everything that’s wrong. But I don’t have anything else to say here. I enjoyed this from the front cover to the back. It’s everything I could hope for in a Hellraiser book and I can’t wait to read more. It reminds me of the old while bringing in something new. It adds new levels of greatness to something I already thought was great.
Read this. Read it now. It’s $9.99 for 128 pages collecting 4 issues plus some extras. That’s about $2.50 an issue. You pay $3.99 an issue for DC’s New 52 junk (don’t deny it, I know you did!) and this has way more substance and quality in one panel than most of those books do in a whole issue.
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