Review: ‘Hellraiser: The Dark Watch’ #5

Hellraiser-Dark-Watch-5

Avoiding formula, “Hellraiser: The Dark Watch” #5 takes a different approach that rejuvenates the long-standing mythology. Through fresh writing, Clive Barker’s reboot of the “Hellraiser” franchise is making its own stamp in the comic book medium. Readers end up with a thrill ride that will not disappoint.

WRITTEN BY: Clive Barker and Brandon Seifert
ART BY: Korkut Oztekin
PUBLISHER: Boom! Studios
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: June 19th, 2013

With a war looming in Hell, the Cenobites will now have to choose sides. The Pope of Hell, ex-private investigator Harry D’Amour, believes Leviathan is playing a bigger game behind his back. D’Amour hires Tiffany and her gang to investigate what is going on inside the Church of Lost Salvation. What Tiffany uncovers inside the abandoned church makes her very frightened. The Church of Lost Salvation is holding monsters that even D’Amour hasn’t seen before. These demons do not belong to Leviathan’s realm, nor are they Cenobites. A new player is in town, who may want Hell’s throne for himself.

Barker and co-writer Brandon Seifert are finding ways to expand their dark universe with new monsters. There is a turf war brewing between the Cenobites, Leviathan’s servants, and a new breed of demons. Seifert and Barker cleverly ask their readers, “Who do you want to win this war?” If any one of these three win, humanity is definitely screwed in the end. If her side loses, the Female Cenobite knows this isn’t the Hell she wants to live in. The Cenobites have everything to gain and lose from this war.

What I really enjoyed is how Seifert provides Tiffany with her own character arc. Put up against a corner, Tiffany has to decide whose side she is really on. Is she going to continue to work with D’Amour? Or, is she going to betray him, like her partners want? Knowing how much she despises the Cenobites, Tiffany sits down and secretly plans her next move. This clearly isn’t the Tiffany you remember from the “Hellbound” movie.

Artist Korkut Oztekin brings in the goriness right from the first page. While hanging upside down, an innocent man is setup as a sacrifice and sliced in half. His skin is then used to bring back a fallen member of Tiffany’s crew. A great way to start off the comic, this is a gruesome transformation captured in Oztekin’s illustrations. In a disturbing sight, the skinless corpse screams when he sees the puzzle box right in front of him.

There is a new breed of demons around and Oztekin has some really interesting designs for them. These new demons have horns on their heads and flash their fangs when they smile. At the Church of Lost Salvation, one of the members rips his head off and reveals his demonic half. When Tiffany and her gang witness this, one of them looks like he wants to throw up.

A violent war is introduced in “Hellraiser: The Dark Watch” #5, where demons will fight demons. After so many disappointing sequels, the “Hellraiser” franchise has settled in perfectly into the comic book medium.

4.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis