Hellraiser: The Dark Watch #3 brings in such fresh energy and original ideas into the long-lasting mythology. In a bold move, Clive Barker and Brandon Seifert’s reboot of the “Hellraiser” franchise will please longtime fans, while newcomers will be able to catch up with the history. Aimed as a standalone issue, if you haven’t read any of “The Dark Watch” issues, this is definitely the one to pick up.
WRITTEN BY: Clive Barker and Brandon Seifert
ART BY: Tom Garcia
PUBLISHER: Boom! Studios
RELEASE: April 17th, 2013
When it really matters, Hell isn’t all about hooks and chains. Sometimes, the most eloquent tortures are about the prisoner not realizing they are trapped in Hell. Elliot Spencer used to be a solider of Earth and Hell, but now, he is lost without any purpose. Since their first confrontation, Kirsty Cotton has dedicated her entire life in hunting down Pinhead and the Cenobites. But, with Spencer standing right in front of her, why doesn’t she have the courage to kill him? Trapped inside the Leviathan’s orb, Kirsty and Spencer are at odds with each other. Spencer still wants the world to bleed at his hands, while Kirsty wants a chance to earn her freedom.
Barker and co-writer, Brandon Seifert, analyze what really is the relationship between Kirsty and Spencer. The writers even play around with fan’s suggestions that Kirsty and Spencer represent a Beauty and Beast theme. In interesting ways, readers will question whether Spencer is the protagonist or the antagonist. If you have seen the movies, you know that Pinhead didn’t kill Kirsty’s father, her Uncle Frank did. So, why is Kirsty trying to kill him if he had nothing to do with her father’s death?
What I really enjoyed about this issue is how Barker and Seifert bring in slasher elements into the story. Inside Kirsty’s home, Spencer stalks closely behind his female prey. Instead of a knife, Spencer uses his bare hands against Kirsty. Even though he is in human form and without his supernatural powers, we see Spencer for who he truly is; a cold-hearted menace.
Artist Tom Garcia perfectly illustrates the disturbing tone of the “Hellraiser” series. In the opening pages, Garcia doesn’t hold back as Spencer swallows a whole human heart into his mouth. After Spencer has finished eating, his face begins to melt and his skin rots away. Garcia captures the incredibly gruesome transformation in a graphic splash page.
If that’s not enough, Garcia continues the disturbing imagery with Kirsty. In her introduction, three tentacles have attached themselves onto Kirsty’s head, sucking the brains out of her. When the tentacles release her, readers see the top of her bald head soaked in blood. In a close-up, Garcia adds a bit of morbid humor by adding a pin to her bloody head.
Highly recommended for horror fans, “Hellraiser: The Dark Watch” #3 breathes new life into the franchise, while welcoming in newcomers. I’m definitely interested in seeing what direction “The Dark Watch” series will take after this.
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis