Review: Hellraiser #9

Oh, how the tables have turned. The mighty have, indeed, fallen, and yet a new monarch is set to rise with the chains of the Configuration. One of the most majestic and notable leaders once more craves flesh, senses, and a conscience. So, a new superior must take over, with dozens of tiny crowns fitted upon her head. Read on for the skinny…

hell9 WRITTEN BY: Clive Barker and Anthony Diblasi
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Stephen Thompson and Janusz Ordon
PUBLISHER: BOOM!
RELEASE: Available Now

In the first issue of the new arc, the Lead Cenobite has grown tired of his position in Hell, and of the agonizing ways of the puzzle box. In order to live in flesh and bone once more, he had to find a suitable replacement, so he offered it to the only woman to conquer it: Kirsty Cotton. After pilfering her family and friends, he promised that she could see them all again if she accepted his offer. She “could have them all back.” As Kirsty had nothing on earth to lose, she accepted. Now, her reign in Hell is set to commence, and the “former” Elliot Spencer can now endulge the senses on a different plane.

Once again, Hellraiser does not disappoint. The new arc is a perfect introduction to an entirely different set of rules, now that the characters have essentially switched places. The story contains a powerful and action-packed opening sequence, with undertones of battling for flesh and blood, and the internal conflict taking place within Spencer. Religious references are, as usual, omnipresent, but ancient ritual is referenced in the issue, as well. There is also a comedic element near the middle; the imaginative (and, at points, downright hysterical) dialogue is highly demonstrated in these scenes.

Stephen Thompson does a fantastic job on the opening sequence with a mainly blue-on-red color palette. The contrast contributes to the overall conflict and chaos (try saying that three times fast). The remainder of the issue, illustrated by Janusz Ordon, uses a subdued color palette of predominately neutrals and very detailed (yet still subtle and lifelike) line work. There’s no particular trend in line sizing; thin lines are used to capture smaller details and accentuate the eyes, and thicker lines are used to capture bodies and shapes. Speaking of eyes, though, look at them throughout the comic; they’re bright, vibrant, and full of life. I smell symbolism.

This Hellraiser series is a gem among comics. The stories and character development are consistently well-paced. Although the artists have changed a few times in this series, the art has never been close to sub-par. This issue proves that the new arc is going to be just as magnificent as the previous arcs, if not more so. I always look forward to the next issue after finishing Hellraiser #9, it is absolutely no exception.

To find out more about the Hellraiser series, be sure to visit the BOOM! Studios website. Also, look forward to the full graphic novel, Hellraiser Vol. 2, which drops next week. Get stoked!