Hellraiser: Bestiary #1

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boom_hellraiser_bestiary_001_aBoom! Studios gives us an new 6-part miniseries with Hellraiser: Bestiary. A collection of short works, this anthology continues in the rich universe that was beget of the Lament Configuration.

I knew I was in for a treat with the variant covers alone.  Conor Nolan’s cover gives great literal detail into what Pinhead’s bestiary may look like, while Sam Shearon takes a surrealist approach with an existential blend of both Pinhead and Puzzle Box.  Is one becoming the other, or have they always been the same? My personal favorite of the covers is the Kim Herbst variant, which pops off the page with succulent colors and plays with the fairytale nightmare that is the Cenobite leader.

 

Symphony In RedSymphony In Red

Writers: Ben Meares and Mark Miller

Artist: Conor Nolan

Symphony In Red is told from the perspective of The High Priestess of Hell (otherwise known to Hellraiser fans as The Female) as she observes her master after he returns from a recent visit to Earth.  She worries for him, is concerned by his behavior, and urges him to address the followers soon crowding the gates.  But Pinhead is unmoved, rigidly focused on the task at hand…that being of horrors that to the human mind are unimaginable.

Nolan’s artwork compliments the tone and style of the story, as well as the overall Hellraiser universe, while Meares and Miller craft an intriguing look into the mind of one of Pinhead’s most devoted of followers.    It is not often that we get a glimpse into the mind of one of the other characters set in this world, and the angle is intriguing.  By stepping away from Pinhead, we learn more about him, and the relationships he holds with his court and his followers.

A definite must-read for Hellraiser purists and die-hard fans.

Desert FathersDesert Fathers

Writer: Victor LaValle

Artist: Colin Lorimer

Color: Tamra Bonvillain

The debut of award-winning novelist Victor LaValle, (The Devil In Silver, Big Machine,) comes crashing into the pages of Testiary, Desert Fathers, is a story of a small community torn to pieces by the infamous puzzle box.  With art and color by Colin Lorimer and Tamra Bonvillain, this story focuses on a small shelter on the outskirts of New York City, where the puzzle box is found by a few vagrants looking to make a buck or two.  What they quickly realize is that they got more than they bargained for, and no pawn shop could pay them the price that they end up paying.

Even the most kindly of hosts aren’t angels, and those who save lives aren’t entirely saints.  Everyone has secrets, everyone has vices.  And Desert Fathers addresses it head on, with a noir-based horror that leaves you looking over your shoulder, and second-guessing a kind gesture.

 LaValle’s introduction to the comic world hits hard, and gains serious creepy points by grounding it in a world that doesn’t seem too far away from reality.  The world is a scary place at times on its own, and adding the horrors of 滴ellraiser・ to it can honestly push a person over the edge in the sanity department.  All I know is this: No gold is that precious, and if I saw what went down in this comic, I’d running hard in the opposite direction, preferably into some impenetrable steel room.  Maybe under a rock.  In the Amazon somewhere.

The HuntedThe Hunted, Part One

Writers: Ben Meares and Mark Miller

Artist: Carlos Magno

Color: Michael Garland

Meares and Miller clearly understand the Hellraiser mythos, as they prove once again with their second offering in Testiary  Pinhead is under the knife ・ or pliers ・ of a group of thugs who have been given the task of retrieving the nails that are embedded in his skull.  And at the price each nail, they will definitely be getting as many as they can.

I almost feel sorry for these thugs; clearly, things will not end well for them in the long run.  I understand the allure of a big reward, but if the one thing your victim asks of you is to torture him slowly, you better rethink what you are getting yourself into.  The artwork on The Hunted is vibrant and gritty, which speaks to the grimy setting of the story.  It takes a lot to bring Pinhead down, and Magno and Garland combine their talents to make every bullet-hole and chain visceral.

But like I said, I almost feel sorry for the punks who think Pinhead won’t take them down when all is said and done.  You reap what you sow, which is basically a Cenobite’s motto.  May god have mercy on their souls.

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