Review: Clive Barker’s ‘Next Testament’ #4

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As each installment gets incredibly better and better, horror fans will be craving for more with “Next Testament” #4. Everything from the writing to the artwork is just sweet candy for the readers. Your mind will be blown away by the “Next Testament” series.

WRITTEN BY Clive Barker and Mark Miller
ART BY: Haemi Jang
PUBLISHER: Boom! Studios
PRIECE: $3.99
RELEASE: Sept. 25, 2013

After being exiled for thousands of years to the desert wasteland, billionaire Julian Demond unearthed the long forgotten entity known as Wick. After Julian presented Wick to his wealthy socialites and Hollywood producers, the dinner party turned into a bloody massacre. Tristan, Julian’s son, barely escapes from the bloodbath with his girlfriend, Elspeth. Thinking they are far away from Wick’s reach, Tristan and Elspeth buy a plane ticket to Providence. Little did they know, Wick singlehandedly causes every plane to explode in mid-air.

Clive Barker and co-writer, Mark Miller, focus on the bloody aftermath of the previously shocking cliffhanger. As Wick destroys all the flying airplanes with the flick of his fingers, the sheer intensity and breathtaking suspense of the panels reminds me of the “Lost” TV series pilot. There is interesting post 9/11 commentary as reporters are hinting at terrorist threats and civilians are talking about an alien invasion. Though Wick is a powerful deity, no one is making a single reference to God. This upsets Wick greatly because he sees humanity having no faith and has lost their religion. Wick is even becoming more controlling of Julian as they travel to their next destination.

The major strength of the narrative comes from the protagonists, Tristan and Elspeth. This loving couple represents everyday people caught in an extraordinary situation. Tristan is trying to keep Elspeth strong and focused as they struggle to survive together. Even when times seem to be at their bleakest, Tristan finds a way to make Elspeth laugh. Readers will find themselves rooting for these protagonists because they are instantly likable and relatable.

Artist Haemi Jang is able to illustrate such tender, somber scenes while capturing such jaw-dropping gore. Jang paces out the suspense as Tristan and Elspeth hold onto each other while their airplane rocks back and forth. Readers will see what happens inside and outside as the plane makes a downward dive to the ground. In an unforgettable piece of imagery, Jang draws attention to the lights of the ambulances and police cars as Tristan and Elspeth walk away from the crash.

When the narrative is at its darkest, Jang also highlights the quirky humor in the script. On their way to Providence, the couple hitches a ride from a stranger, who happens to be a carefree hippie and a slob. While Tristan and the driver are discussing about death and causalities from the airplane massacre, Elspeth has this weird expression on her face. Sitting in the backseat, Elspeth is holding the driver’s dirty shoe from its laces.

With “Next Testament” #4 marking the end of its first arc, I can’t wait to see what happens in the upcoming installments. What is going to happen when Wick finally arrives in Hollywood? With “Next Testament”, you know you are in the capable hands of a horror master.

4.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by Jorge Solis