Reviewed by – Jorge Solis
An epic masterpiece in the making, every page of “Next Testament Vol.1” contains vibrant imagery, snappy dialogue, and two engaging protagonists. “Next Testament” could only come from the mind of a true horror master. Clive Barker proves himself once again. Collecting the first four issues, check out why this horror series landed #1 on my Bloody-Disgusting’s Best Of 2013 List.
WRITTEN BY: Clive Barker and Mark Miller
ART BY: Haemi Jang
PUBLISHER: Boom! Studios
RELEASE: May 21, 2013
In the desert wasteland, eccentric billionaire Julian Demond is searching for something hidden and locked away underneath the layers of sand. Waiting to be set free, the powerful entity, known as ‘The Father’ from the Old Testament, wakes up finally from his prison. Julian thinks he has found God but he has actually found a sadistic power-hungry supreme being, nicknaming himself Wick. Julian’s son, Tristan, and his fiancée, Elspeth, are about be the first ones to witness the coming of the apocalypse. No one is safe, not even the socialites and big-wigs of Hollywood, as Wick steps out into the world.
Clive Barker and co-writer, Mark Miller, have done something unique and fresh with religious horror. Standing out, Wick acknowledges there is a higher power above him and everything about the New Testament is true. Though the Devil, referred to as The Son by Wick, makes a cameo appearance, he is actually the good guy here. We see Wick at first intrigued by humanity’s accomplishments, then slowly getting tired of mankind. As an antagonist, Wick is an intellectual like Pinhead but he’s also a deadly killing machine like Jason Voorhees.
The highlight of the writing comes from Miller’s quirky dialogue between Tristan and Elspeth. When these two lovebirds are in a panel together, you’re rooting for them to make it through. The snappy banter between them is reminiscent of Nick and Nora Charles, from Dashiell Hammet’s “The Thin Man.” Among Barker’s creations, Elspeth has the innate goodness of Anne Bobby, from “Nightbreed,” and the strong will of Kirsty Cotton, from “Hellraiser.” And yet, there is still something more about Elspeth that makes her such a badass character.
If you have read Brandon Seifert’s “Hellraiser: The Road Below,” then you know artist Haemi Jang is the perfect choice for this series. Jang just lets loose on the gore and kill scenes during the dinner. In a two-pager, notice how elegant and terrifying the imagery is when Wick shatters the stained glass window. When the police arrive, Jang uses the rack-focus technique to blur the background, so that we only see the sirens.
The plane crash sequence is my favorite part of this collection. Jang captures the bumpy ride, the passengers screaming, and the lovebirds in turmoil throughout the suspenseful illustrations. I honestly haven’t been this impressed with a plane crash since I first saw the opening scene in the “Lost” pilot. I hope after this series concludes, Barker, Miller, and the good people at BOOM! Studios, keep using Jang for other projects.
I absolutely loved “Next Testament” since the first issue. The first half of “Next Testament Vol. 1” is a great jumping-on point for newcomers and something awesome to have in your comic book collection.