Boom! Studios continues to impress with part two of its six-part series, “Hellraiser: Bestiary.”
Old Hat To Raise The Devil
Written by Christopher Taylor
Illustrated by Jason Shawn Alexander
Most people involved in American culture are aware of the tale of Robert Johnson. The story goes he met the devil at a crossroads and traded his soul to becoming the legendary blues musician we all are familiar with. What Old Hat To Raise The Devil brings is the idea that perhaps it wasn’t the devil that would meet lost souls at that crossroads, but something far, far worse with a much higher price to pay.
Taylor’s story jumps off the page thanks to Jason Shawn Alexander’s illustrations, which captures the dusty, prohibition-style environment that is often associated with a Johnson-esque story. The Cenobite-fueled spin is intriguing, given that no one knows what would show up if you tried to sell the devil your soul at a crossroads. How would you be able to make sure it was Lucifer you were talking to? The puzzle box makes its appearance in a more unconventional way, that being a gorgeous, 13-string guitar. It draws the lambs to the slaughter, and brings Calvin, the protagonist of our story, exactly what he desires. But is it worth the price he has to pay?
And above all, is it what he deserves?
Written by Ben Meares
Illustrated by Amancay Nahuelpan
Colors by Matt Battaglia
The pornography industry is booming thanks to the internet and amateur-style videos. A popular genre of adult films, participants are filmed as if auditioning for a role in an adult film, or just explaining what they will be doing in the video before the scenes are shot. This is also pretty prevalent in pornography that features BDSM or sadomasochism, as it further proves the participant’s awareness of the part they will be playing in the movie, and exactly how far things will go, as well as ensuring their safety by going over concepts like safewords.
Since “Hellraiser” is a world Barker has bore out of pleasure and pain, it is the ultimate setup for such a video. With the modern world so dependent on online media, and constantly searching for the next shocking thing to get through to their desensitized lives, the idea that murder being the latest from of entertainment is not new. That makes the introduction of Pinhead’s puzzle box a logical and interesting idea that serves as a nice tidbit from Meares to include in the “Bestiary” anthology.
The Hunted, Part Two
Written by Ben Meares and Mark Miller
Illustrated by Carlos Magno
Colors by Matt Battaglia
The only story that continues from “Bestiary: Part One,” Meares and Miller pick up where we left off, with the thugs who have captured Pinhead prying his trademark nails from his head. After some doing, they finally manage to remove all his pins, effectively making the group millionaires. After they leave him for dead and attempt burning the building with Pinhead inside to destroy the evidence, we discover that although our Cenobite anti-hero may be powerless, that doesn’t make him anymore cunning.
The trio of Meares, Miller and Magno bring each character and cell to life crystal clear, with each thug shining with their own individuality rather than falling into an easy trap of making them all big, dumb scavengers. Seeing Pinhead so helpless and robbed of his source of power is a staggering picture, as Pinhead thrives on the pleasure of pain, but without his namesake he is otherwise as dangerous as a newborn kitten. That would never stop the head Cenobite though, obviously, and after the fire he calls upon the most surprising place a person could think for him regarding aide. But since the Catholic church is known for its personal pain and self-flagellation, what better place for Pinhead to go for help other than the Vatican?
Battaglia, who also colored the aforementioned Hellbound Desires, bring a brightness and clarity to the artwork of this story that drives the imagery home, pun intended. With the set-up for “Bestiary” being solidified with part two of the six-part series thanks to another blend of one-shots and a continuing dialogue with The Hunted, we begin to see the pattern that this series has created, and settle ourselves into something that we strap into the ride for.
Hellraiser: Bestiary #2 is now available from BOOM!