Reviewing something that’s free is kind of a ridiculous endeavor. Especially in tough economic times, readers look to reviews to know if something is worth the value of admission. Well, since this prelude comic is free and won’t even cost you the lint in your pocket, there is really no reason you should stop reading right here and check it out; but since you are being kind enough to keep reading, I suppose I will continue.
The kind people at BOOM! were generous enough to grace the web with a free prelude to its new Hellraiser series to create some buzz for the series release. Fortunately this ten-page comic, titled Hellraiser: At the Tolling of a Bell, has more going for it than merely being a freebie. It is written by none other than franchise creator Clive Barker, which alone should be enough to give it a good running start. The dialogue, what little of it there is in ten pages, features some witty one-liners that help to keep the pages moving, and the simple but nevertheless creepy phrase in the last panel is enticing enough to see where the first issue will pick up. One could see, and hope, that the series will probably have the more reserved dialogue that this prelude features, which in my opinion is better for scares than something that is overly wordy.
Accompanying the dialogue’s theme of creepy reservedness, the art is rightfully gritty and dark. You won’t find any of the shiny, colorful art styles littering every DC and Marvel issue these days. In their place are heavy blacks, and dotted, grainy shading that is a little reminiscent of independent comics from the nineties. I was very glad that this comic took the liberty of pulling back some of the glitziness that is flooding the scene today. Especially for a horror comic as dark as this, the down and dirty vibe of the colors and art is key to deliver the creep factor. In fact, the only bright colors featured throughout the issue take place when things ignite in flames or blood bursts from a body, which helps to accentuate these gory sequences. And this comic certainly does not hold back the gore. In the words of a once great TV show, “Better not bring your kids!”
While ten pages is merely a tease, Barker and company have given horror and comic book fans something to be excited about. I really shouldn’t have to convince you to grab something that that will not cost you a dime, but I assure you that it is worth your time to download and read this free issue, especially if you are a fan of the franchise.
Now go download!.