Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Comic Reviews: Hellraiser 3, 4, & 5

Heaven’s Reply

    Elliott and Kristy have switched places, and that just can’t be good.  Kristy has always tried to do the right thing, but now that she has tremendous power and frightening new knowledge, her perception of right and wrong may have changed.  Elliott has found a surprising ally in Tiffany, but her obsession with stopping Engineers and destroying the creations of Lemarchand has blinded her to the obvious.  Elliot is up to something, and if he’s willing to give up his demonic power, you know it’s something bad.  I find it interesting that this comic series, ostensibly written by Clive Barker, draws so much from the movies he had little, if anything to do with.  That’s not a bad thing in this case.  I think the comic is taking all of that and building on some of the best aspects.  Plus, there is definitely a sense that Harry D’Amour is an important, if still unseen player in the events, which links it more to Barker’s literary efforts.

    The art is disgusting, but I think it works well with the story.  It certainly gets grosser in Hell.  The design on Kristy’s Cenobites is interesting.  Hers are more organic and messy, reflecting her more raw emotions (I think), where Elliott’s were always colder, more clean-lined.  It should probably be obvious, but the content is also stronger than Boom! typically puts out, with more overt sex and wet chunks of violence.  Not for the kids.

Hell Hath no Fury

    OK, so that happened.  By the end of this volume, I was thinking of that post newsmen battle, where the guys were sitting around talking about how things got out of hand (Brick killed a guy…with a trident).  Well, this volume took it to a new level of madness.  Hell and Earth will never be the same.  Elliott’s plan becomes more clear, and Kristy struggles to come to terms with her new power.  In one volume, this turns from fairly claustrophobic to global conflict, with doomsday scenarios, liberated souls from hell massing in India, and Harry D’Amour finally making his appearance.  And I’ve got now clue where this story might go from here.  The last page is…uh…not quite what I expect from the series.  So, it makes me all that much more curious where things go next.

    Though I swear like a sailor (who swears a lot), I did find the book’s use of the F-bomb somewhat gratuitous.  A couple times, it was very well placed.  But by about the half-way point it was feeling forced.  The only other issue I have with the book is that the jumping back and forth between stories, especially with varied art styles, gets a touch confusing.

Blood Communion

    Well, the ending is a bit of a cheat, and that’s frustrating.  Still, this final chapter brings things to a close, setting up a new conflict for the next story.  Getting into Elliott’s history and particular perversions makes for uncomfortable reading.  And what is Leviathan up to?  I have to assume he’s got some kind of long game going, but who can say.

    Barker and fellows have brought Hellraiser back to its core, and built upon it in interesting new ways.  Not everything works, and I wish the scripts were a bit meatier.  But it’s cool to see some of the potential that probably wouldn’t have worked in film, get some air.  There is a science fictional element that seems to be missing, sadly.  It leans more on traditional concepts of Heaven and Hell, than on the extra-dimensional explorer concept I’ve always liked.  Alas.  Still, a pretty good series, none the less, and a must read for Hellraiser fans.

Hellraiser Volume 3: Heaven’s Reply
Authors: Clive Barker, etc.
Artists:  Stephen Thompson, etc.
Publisher: Boom! Studios
ISBN: 978-1-60886-090-6

Hellraiser Volume 4: Hell Hath No Fury
Authors: Clive Barker, etc.
Artists:  Janusz Ordon, etc.
Publisher: Boom! Studios
ISBN: 978-1-60886-283-2

Hellraiser Volume 5: Blood Communion
Authors: Clive Barker, etc.
Artists: Jesus Hervas, etc.
Publisher: Boom! Studios
ISBN: 978-1-60886-302-0


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