With the spotlight on Kirsty Cotton as the new Pinhead, Hellraiser: The Road Below #3 takes off in a different, yet highly original, direction. With an interesting set-up, readers are definitely going to enjoy the suspense and scares. “The Road Below” demonstrates that the “Hellraiser” franchise can survive without Elliot Spencer in the title role.
WRITTEN BY: Brandon Seifert
ART BY: Haemi Jang
PUBLISHER: Boom! Studios
RELEASE: December 19th, 2012
irsty is now the Cenobites’ new Priestess, but she doesn’t know what she is supposed to do. Outside the realm of Hell, a helpless mother discovers a monstrous killer is on the hunt for her daughter. Because the mother made a deal with the Devil, Kirsty must choose whether to serve her role as Hell’s servant, or hold onto her last remaining thread of humanity. Kirsty’s choices will either save the mother in distress or cause problems with the Cenobites.
Brandon Seifert uses Kristy’s introduction to her Pinhead role as an interesting metaphor for “your first day on the new job.” During her conversation with the Female Cenobite, Kirsty sounds unsure if she made the right decision. In a clever twist, Kirsty turns this self-sacrificing heroine into a prisoner in Hell’s domains. Kirsty doesn’t have what it takes to be Pinhead, because she still has her humanity. I’m interested in seeing how Seifert transforms Kirsty into a cold-hearted judge and executioner.
Seifert sneaks in a clever subplot, which is a coming-of-age tale about Rhea’s daughter, Cordele. As a teenager, Cordele is full of angst and rebelliousness. She discovers something strange about her body and doesn’t know what she is turning into. Cordele needs her mother to explain what is going on, but she is nowhere in sight. Even when Seifert injects humor into Cordele’s dialogue, making a Star Trek reference, the joke comes from within character, not from the situation. As Joseph, the monstrous killer, closes in on her, Cordele is going to discover how lonely and darker the adult world is.
Haemi Jang delivers on the disturbing imagery that the “Hellraiser” series is known for. When Rhea arrives in Hell, Kirsty forces her to relive her greatest fear over and over again. For Rhea, the worst thing that could happen is seeing her daughter dead. The nightmare is intensified as Jang depicts Cordele with her chest cut open, her head chopped off, and with her skin peeled off.
The major highlight of the issue is when Joseph finally confronts Cordele. When they meet, Joseph and Cordele unknowingly cause a paranormal/electrical rift, which causes them both pain. In an impressive sight to see, Jang washes away color, leaving just black and white tones. In the black and white panels, Jang builds suspense through medium shots and close-ups, as Joseph slowly goes through the waves of electricity to get to Cordele.
“Hellraiser: The Road Below” #3 continues to deliver a gritty and creepy character study. Seifert and Jang have such brand new ideas and sights to show “Hellraiser” fans.
Rating: 4/5 skulls
Reviewed by Jorge Solis