Alan Smithee

Hellraiser #1 – Review

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I have a father who raised me on Clive Barker stories. My very first experience with the writer was in his book Weaveworld. It was then that I knew that this man was capable of capturing my imagination and disturbing me greatly at the same time. I’ve been a fan ever since. What a great time to be a fan too, because Mr. Barker is back and writing the Hellraiser comic which I am about to review.

This marks only the third time that Clive Barker has officially touched and helmed a Hellraiser based story. As many of you know the first movie was all him and so was the book that spawned the series The Hellbound Heart. This is an important fact to know because this comic is PURE Barker, not someone else’s take on his work. This is THE perfect example of how a horror comic should be written.

The issue’s main story revolves around our favorite heroine Kirsty Cotton who is no longer a resident at the Channard Institute but an adult woman who you get to see a whole bunch of (by that I mean nearly completely nude at one point). Did I mention this was an adult comic?

SPOILERS BELOW

Seemingly more important at this point is the fact that the series’ most prevalent cenobite Pinhead has grown tired of his lifetime of causing pain and torture and wishes to give it all up for the chance to leave hell. This will involve absconding from his position as head cenobite and gambling everything, including his eternal soul, to become human again and try to gain salvation and entrance into heaven.

END SPOILERS

It is unclear how he hopes to accomplish all of this, but the stage is definitely set for this series after just the first issue. It’s especially good to see Barker not dumbing down the story for the uninitiated. You do need to know some of the Hellraiser mythos to understand what the hell is going in, but it’s not THAT important. If you’re new to the series, you should be alright picking this up, but I really suggest you watch the very first movie in the series, Hellraiser, just to be safe and caught up to speed.

Joining Clive Barker on this journey is Christopher Monfette, who helps with the writing, and all of the drawing is handled exceptionally by Leonardo Manco. Mr. Manco captures the essence of each of the characters from the series as we’ve come to know them and provides stunning yet horrible images (the good kind of horrible) of exactly what awaits one who opens the Lament Configuration.

STORY: 92%
ART: 96%
OVERALL: 94%

There is one scene where pinhead is having a conversation with ‘someone’ that I won’t go too far in details when describing, that establishes the tone and quality level that we should be able to expect from Leo Manco. Seriously, if the entire run of this book can manage to keep the level of writing and artwork this high, we should be seeing this series flying off the shelves faster than they can print them.

Readers will have a be able to choose between three different covers for this hefty 40-page comic: Cover A is done by Tim Bradstreet, Cover B by Nick Percival, and Cover C is done by Clive Barker himself.

I can easily tell that this will be BOOM! Studios series to beat considering the weight of the Hellraiser series and Clive Barker’s ubiquitous name in the horror community. Now to wait a whole month for the next issue to come along…

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