Unsettling and gory to the core, “Clive Barker’s Hellraiser: Bestiary” #1 is a thrilling continuation of the horror franchise that made Pinhead a household name. After so many lackluster sequels, this is a return to form for “Hellraiser.” In the right hands, “Bestiary” presents an anthology of shorts that definitely has some disturbing sights to show you.
WRITTEN BY: Mark Miller, Ben Meares, Victor LaValle
ART BY: Conor Nolan, Colin Lorimer, Carlos Magno
PUBLISHER: Boom! Studios
RELEASE: August 20, 2014
Reviewed by Jorge Solis
“Symphony in Red” takes at look at Hell from the person who knows it all too well, the Female Cenobite. Now that everything is where it should be, why isn’t she happy in Hell? In “Desert Fathers,” two thieves are about to learn, the hard way no less, what happens when you steal the Lament Configuration. In “The Hunted: Part One,” Pinhead finds himself in the middle of a gang war. Which side will win when everyone involved just wants blood?
Though these are separate storylines, all three tales share a common theme within. The narrative takes place right after the events from Brandon Seifert and Tom Garcia’s “The Dark Watch.” Eliot Spencer is back as Pinhead, the Pope of hell, harvesting human souls for his own amusement. I do miss Seifert’s witty sense of humor, especially since the tone now seems darker and harsher. It’s a minor complaint, since the shift in tone caught me by surprise, especially in Miller and Meares’ “Symphony in Red.”
Because I am a huge fan of “Next Testament,” I absolutely knew the Pinhead’s dialogue would be spot-on because of Mark Miller involved. After serving his time with humanity, Spencer is somehow crueler in his execution. Notice how Conor Nolan’s illustrations are awash in blood after Pinhead splits his victims in half.
In “Desert Father,” the security guards at the Desert Inn have become numb after what they have seen. The old man on the sixth floor loves it when his dominatrix visits, but he never expected her to steal his Lament Configuration. At a quick pace, Victor LaValle examines how being numb at your job makes you lose faith. Colin Lorimer delivers an intense battle between the guards and the Cenobite unleashed.
In “The Hunted, Part One,” the “Hellraiser” series explores topics such as racism and urban crime , which I believe hasn’t been done before. What Meares and Miller have brilliantly done is create a group of hardcore gang members who can stand up to the so called, “Devil.” Carlos Magno captures a distinct tattoo on the gang leader’s face.
Pinhead is back, even more twisted than before, in “Clive Barker’s Hellraiser: Bestiary” #1. Get ready for some chilling nightmares after reading this issue.