Review: Clive Barker’s ‘Next Testament’ #1

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A combination of dark fantasy and horror, Next Testament #1 will sneak inside your head and get your heart racing. Smart, edgy, and frightening – this is exactly what you expect to come from the mind of Clive Barker, one of the greatest horror storytellers of our time (kudos also goes to his writing partner Mark Miller). Definitely get your hands on “Next Testament” because this comic is going to be epic.

Written By: Clive Barker and Mark Miller
Art By: Haemi Jang
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Price: $3.99
Release: May 29, 2013

Following a vision he dreamed about, Julian Demond, a wealthy and eccentric old man, walks across the endless desert. Could this crazy old man actually be a chosen prophet? Or, is he just another religious nut? There is something to be frightened about Julian because he truly believes he is being guided by a higher power. Julian suddenly sees something buried in the sand and is compelled to dig it up. What he unearths is a powerful god, who may or may not bring about the apocalypse.

Barker and co-writer Mark Miller ask themselves, “What if God returned to Earth?” But, this God that Barker and Miller are writing about is from the Old Testament. This god is neither compassionate, nor forgiving as a bloody war is waged upon humanity. The religious themed premise is quite broad and grand in scope, but the writers find a way to centralize the idea through their characters. The narrative is also about a prodigal son trying to reconnect with a father he abandoned years ago.

Having read the novella, “The Last Illusion,” I am really happy that Barker has brought in his wicked sense of humor. Tristan Demond and his wife, Elspeth, have such a snappy and hilarious banter between them. The issue really stands out because of the quirky dialogue between the two as they search for clues about Julian’s whereabouts. Readers will instantly like these protagonists and wonder if something bad is going to happen to them.

Artist Haemi Jang has an interesting character design for the powerful god that Julian unearths. A mishmash of primary colors, the heavenly figure looks like a walking and talking stained glass window. In wide shots, Jang captures the isolation and scorching heat of the desert landscape. Notice Julian’s facial expressions after he finally meets his personal god. Jang depicts Julian as if he has had found inner pace and meaning in his life.

Because of their pseudo-detective story, Jang portrays Tristan and Elspeth as if they are “The Thin Man” couple, Nick and Nora. During the couple’s scenes, Jang plays around with the film noir aspects, such as the crooked and high angle shots. Jang always keeps Tristan and Elspeth together in the same panel. The pair have their eyes looking at each other, as if their minds are in sync.

Horror fans are going to want to get their hands on this one. “Next Testament” #1 hooks its readers with an interesting and foreboding premise. If you haven’t read any of Clive Barker’s works (really?!?), then this is the perfect place to start.

4/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis

 
  • Canucklehead

    Admittedly a huge Barker fan but I loved this. The art was fantastic and it will be interesting to see what this colorful thing turns out to be. Alien? Devil? Student Art Project gone awry. And as for something bad happening to the protagonists? Duh!