Clive Barker’s New Hellraiser #1 From Boom! Reviewed

1st off I should start by saying that I am ,and have been for a very long time, a huge Hellraiser fan.  When I saw this new series solicited in Previews I immediately put it on my pull list.  One of the descriptions I saw was that this is going to be the last Pinhead story.  As a fan how could I miss this?  Barker is also the co-writer along with Christopher Monfette.  Well this just keeps getting better.  So when this was in my bag last week I figured I would have to dust off some of my writing skills and do my 1st review for the site.  So let’s get to it.

The Art

I want to get this out of the way because I am more of a story guy.  Yes good art will help a story and bad art will hurt one, but luckily the art in this was spot on.  I am not familiar with Leonardo Manco’s work but he did not disappoint.  He gives the story a very dark and gritty feel and since this is Hellraiser that is exactly what it needed.  Oh and of course there is a good amount of gore as well.  Everything in this is superbly detailed and so happily this is a good story with good art.  I think my favorite panel is when Pinhead and a character named Samuel are standing in a field.  It is a far away overhead view and the two characters are just two very small figures, but the whole field has the pattern from the puzzle box.  As a fan this made me giggle with maniacal laughter just a bit because when that pattern pops up you know nothing good will come from it.

The Story

We start of with a sign that just says Nebraska and what looks to be a very isolated farmhouse.  We see a person walking with a bucket walking through a field and then a shot of pipe leading underground with a dialogue bubble that simply says “Help…please, help…”.  Not a good start for whoever is at the bottom of that pipe.  We then move to a girl huddled in a corner of a room with nothing in it except a table with the infamous puzzle box on top of it.  Then we see what can be assumed is the same man that was walking through the field and now he is sitting in front of some monitors.  He flips a switch and lights come on in the room with our captured girl.  The girl then looks around a bit and discovers the puzzle box.  She begins to examine it and then…well the same thing happens as when anyone starts messing with the box.  Here comes the gang!!  The classic Cenobite trio pops up with Pinhead in the lead.  Our captured girl is confused and Pinhead drops some classic Pinhead dialogue.  I always thought Pinhead had some of the coolest lines.  He just always sounds so bad ass.  Now this is where you see the start of where I think the story is going to go.  Pinhead just wants to get the killing over with and even says he is bored with all the sameness of what they do.  Cue massive eviscerating of the captured girl.  Pinhead then mentions he requires something greater and we see the man who was sitting at the monitors start cleaning up the mess.

We now cut to the Cenobites being back in hell with a classic shot of Leviathan floating above everything.  There is some back and forth between Pinhead and the female Cenobite about a meddler and a war that she is waging.  This will be one of the coolest reveals by the end.  Pinhead is seeking The Bellows in the Tower of Teeth and Tongues (doesn’t sound like a happy place right?).  We find out that to go there is forbidden but this is Pinhead and he pretty much does whatever he pleases.  Once again we get some classic Pinhead lines and then he enters the Tower.  Now the best I can describe what is in this chamber is a tower of tortured, bloody, and skinless bodies towering over what looks to be an old church organ (the piano kind not the pancreas kind).  Basically Pinhead says how he is needs a new experience.  The voices from the tower of bodies try to warn him against it because what he is going to ask is the same thing that got him/them at the station that he/them are now at.  Mostly a giant towering corpse organ.  This goes back and forth for a bit but what it comes down to is Pinhead wants to be human again so he can attempt to earn the salvation of Heaven.  Wait…WTF???  Yeah he wants to get into heaven.  At this point in the story I automatically knew this was going to be a hell of a ride.  The giant tower of corpses says Pinhead needs to find a replacement and that he must speak that name.  Of course we don’t hear the name but we read that it is a fascinating choice.

Now cut to the guy who was behind the monitors who’s name is Samuel and he is burying the remains of the previous kill.  Pinhead appears and tells this man that he has much death to ask of him and much blood to spill.  Doesn’t really seem to be on the road to redemption there.

Now the ending which intrigues me to no end.  We cut to a woman painting.  A man sneaks up behing her and surprises her.  There is some banter back and forth.  The man who’s name is Edgar tries to propose.  The woman kind of shuts him down saying her history is filled with loss and she’s been there before and it didn’t end well.  There is a bit of a sex scene (only one nip slip so basically tame) and as the panels progress we see a painting of Pinhead.  Then we see the woman looking in a bathroom mirror and the counter is riddled with pill bottles.  There is some waving goodbye between the woman and Edgar.  As Edgar’s car pulls away we see Samuel pull up behind him as he is leaving.  He is putting a letter labled Harrowers in a mailbox that has the name Cotton on it.  So with that we find out who the woman is.  Kristy Cotton!  The original girl from the novella and the movies.  Yeah I am hooked.

Ok so the only 2 things I can say that might throw people off and I have no idea how one of them will be handled.  Firstly when Kristy mentions being there before when Edgar tries to propose well that happened in one of the direct to DVD sequels where she popped back up.  That isn’t a big deal but if you’ve sen that movie it had a pretty decent ending to it with how everything went down.  The 2ns is the letter was addressed to the Harrowers.  Now that is a bigtime throwback to a comic of the same name from the Barkerverse line.  The comic involved a group of people that were recruited to fight the Cenobites.  I’ve only read a couple issues of that so I’m not really sure how, if at all, that will be incorporated.  So unless you are a die hard fan these 2 things may have went over your head.  There is also a preview in the back of what will be a collected editon of some older stories.  It had nothing to do with the main story but was just a way to promote the collected edition that is coming out.

So overall I loved it and can not wait to see where all of this is going.  If you are a Hellraiser fan you need to run out and get this now.  This may have been a set up issue but what an awesome set up it was.

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