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Review: ‘Hellraiser: The Dark Watch’ #1

As a new chapter begins, Hellraiser: The Dark Watch #1 expands on the mythology that was originally set forth in Clive Barker’s novella, “The Hellbound Heart.” This is a continuation of Barker’s original vision of horror and a fresh start for the “Hellraiser” franchise. New readers are about to discover the mass of terror that happens when you solve the puzzle box.

WRITTEN BY: Clive Barker and Brandon Seifert
ART BY: Tom Garcia
PUBLISHER: Boom! Studios
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: February 20, 2013

Dying from liver cancer, a lonely man seeks salvation from death and buys a mysterious puzzle box from a dealer. After solving the puzzle box, the dying man wonders why there is no welcoming party for him. Hell isn’t what it’s supposed to be as a civil war is brewing in the underbelly. The demons that have previously supported Pinhead are now rebelling against the Female Cenobite. Because Pinhead and Kirsty Cotton no longer want to be part of the unholy throne, Hell is under new management. This dying man will soon discover why the juiciest sinners deserve the most attention.

Barker and co-writer, Brandon Seifert, have given old familiar faces from the mythology a brand new role. Still hurt from the betrayal, the Female Cenobite no longer sees Elliot Spencer as her grand savior. She is now in charge of the Cenobites and has her own ideas of what Hell should be. Harry D’Amour, the occult detective, has returned but looks completely different.

Artist Tom Garcia delivers a dark and gritty look to Hell and the Cenobite army. Hell is always in never-ending darkness and the sky is washed in blood-red tones. Garcia gives a slightly different design to familiar characters, such as the Female Cenobite.

Two scenes from Garcia’s illustrations really stand out. During the climax, one of the Cenobites is brutally stabbed. With maximum force, the knife is plunged straight through his head. In the climactic last page, a dealer suddenly turns into a demonic monster. At the start of the transformation, his two eyes pop out and blood gushes into the air.

“Hellraiser: The Dark Watch” #1 goes into a different direction in this promising new beginning. With the creative team-up of Barker and Seifert, they breathe new life into the franchise that has lasted after many disappointing sequels. While this re-imagination is geared to bring in new readers, longtime fans will be pleased the comic is close in tone to the first two “Hellraiser” movies.

4/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis



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