Review: ‘Hellraiser: The Road Below’ #4

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Hellraiser: The Road Below #4 concludes with surprising twists and drastic changes to Clive Barker’s universe. “The Road Below” started off in a different, yet highly original direction with the spotlight centered on Kirsty Cotton. Now at its conclusion, it seems the “Hellraiser” franchise can continue to thrive because of this fresh and imaginative approach.

WRITTEN BY: Brandon Seifert
ART BY: Haemi Jang
PUBLISHER: Boom! Studios
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: January 23, 2012

As Kirsty tries to figure out her new role as Pinhead, writer Brandon Seifert makes the dilemma an interesting metaphor for “the first day at your new job.” As the Cenobite Queen, Kirsty is making all kinds of mistakes, angering both the Wolfes and Nethercoates clans. Because she doesn’t have what it takes to be Elliot Spencer, Kirsty chooses her own side and makes up her own rules. As she clings onto her humanity, Kirsty is desperately trying to hold onto something that might not even be there anymore.

What’s surprising is how Seifert brings in his witty sense of humor. Seifert never dives into slapstick humor, nor is it straight-out horror comedy. It makes sense that Cordele would make a Star Trek reference, because she is a teenager. Even Kirsty pokes fun at the bondage and torture look that the “Hellraiser” movie is known for. The sarcastic humor never steals the show and always comes from within character.

Haemi Jang focuses on the relationship between Kirsty, Cordele, and Rhea. When the two are together in the panel, Kirsty and Rhea, the mother in distress, share the same eye level because they both have a feisty attitude and tough personality. When Cordele and Kirsty share the same panel, Kirsty looks at the teenager as if she is speaking to her younger self. All three have a connection to each other, which Jang visually represents in the panels.

The major highlight of the issue is when Jang introduces the new Cenobite. This new Cenobite has tentacle-like fingers and a bald head, a mirror image to Kirsty’s face. Though you never see how the flesh was torn off, Jang hints that the neck was ripped at and the chest was cut open. Towards the last pages, Jang illustrates my favorite character from Barker’s mythology. It’s right on the spot and I hope they keep this description in the future.

Ending on a satisfying note, “Hellraiser: The Road Below” #4 delivers on the disturbing imagery and compelling storytelling. “The Road Below” builds interest and anticipation for what’s to come in “Dark Watch.” With the collaboration between Seifert and Barker, they have brand new ideas and tons of unseen sights to show “Hellraiser” fans.

4.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis