Review: Clive Barker’s ‘Next Testament’ #5


Highly addictive, horror fans will be eager for another fix after reading “Next Testament” #5. The stakes are higher and the tension mounts as our heroes find themselves lost in a new world order. The “Next Testament” series continues to be an exciting thrill ride that keeps the heart racing at full speed.

WRITTEN BY: Clive Barker and Mark Miller
ART BY: Haemi Jang
PUBLISHER: Boom! Studios
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: October 30, 2013

After being exiled for thousands of years, the powerful entity known as Wick wants to know what he has been missing. Billionaire Julian Demond joins along for the ride as Wick looks for something to quench his thirst for power and lust. After wiping out the fakers and posers in Hollywood, Wick has set his sights on San Francisco. After surviving a plane crash, Tristan, Julian’s son, and his fiancée, Elspeth, travel the hidden back roads of America to find out Wick’s secrets. But when they are greeted by religious fanatics, Tristan and Elspeth realize they are a long way from reaching Providence.

Clive Barker and co-writer, Mark Miller, interweave the two subplots as the protagonists and antagonists make their own road trip across America. In the previous installment, Tristan and Elspeth meet the best in human nature, a kind stranger who offers them a ride. Now it’s time for them to meet the worst in human nature. Because of Wick’s twisted influence, there are now religious fanatics worshipping this false idol. Trapped in a small town, Tristan only has his common sense as he listens to the ravings of a maniacal pastor.

What I really liked is how the writers don’t have the two storylines competing against each other. Wick’s subplot is just as interesting as the couple’s. Wick has fallen in love with humanity because they managed to cook their own version of opium. Fascinated with the addictive taste of heroin, Wick instantly sees an opening where he could gain new followers. We’re seeing Wick becoming a cult leader as he starts a new religion.

Focusing on the normality of the situation, artist Haemi Jang is able to build the suspense during Tristan and Elspeth’s confrontation with Pastor Sam Calhoun. At first, Jang depicts Calhoun with a warm and charming smile in the medium shots. The illustrations look like Calhoun is preaching a sermon to Tristan and Elspeth. Readers will start to notice something is wrong with Calhoun when he tightens his teeth in a close-up.

My favorite of Jang’s illustrations happens in the opening pages. To demonstrate his all-mighty power, Wick strikes his fist into the ground. In a wide shot, two giant hands, made of dirt, jump out of the pavement and reach for Julian. Wick then kneels and melts into a blob of colors as his entire body sinks into the mud.

Epic horror at its best, “Next Testament” #5 delivers a surreal atmosphere of dread and suspense. The beginning of its second story arc, this is a very easy jumping-on point for newcomers.

4.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis