Keeping it creepy is the name of the game with Part #3 of 6 in their Hellraiser: Bestiary series by Boom! Studios.
Written By: Ben Meares
Illustrated By: Akiel Guzman
Colors By: Matt Battaglia
Does Pinhead have a conscience? That is the facet of the Hellraiser mythos that is discussed with Meares’ latest one-shot, “Puzzled.” Autism is a condition that has become more and more visible in our world, with new discoveries and forms of treatment and therapy becoming known every day. What would happen if your child got their hands on the most sinister puzzle in the world?
Dale is raising his son, Jeremy, who has autism. Jeremy is pretty destructive until he finds a source of contentment, that being puzzles. They keep him occupied, focused, and only when he has no puzzle to figure out does he revert back to his inconsolable self. Dale, at his wit’s end, becomes intent on finding the most complex and encompassing puzzles for his son, finally falling upon a strange, wooden puzzle box that instantly captures Jeremy’s attention for weeks on end. But when Jeremy suddenly vanishes leaving only a bloodstain on the floor, both Dale and the authorities assume the worst.
We all know Pinhead has a pretty strict moral code regarding his victims, but he will find every loophole and trick to get around them to find his fun. What we find with Jeremy though is not only a soul that is untainted, though, but a being with a passion and a use that Pinhead can use to his own ends. An apprentice to carry on his knowledge to. And now, Jeremy will have endless puzzles to put back together.
Meares continues to impress with all the fresh approaches to unwrapping the Hellraiser psychology and its sense of law among its madness. Pinhead will not let his puzzlemasters go, but he also doesn’t blindly abuse them once they have opened the box, either. He assesses, finds their sins, finds their pressure points. And with a person as malleable as Jeremy, he has found a perfect attendant.
Illustrated By: Alexis Ziritt
Colors By: Felipe Sobreiro
Breakups are never easy. Relationships take a lot of understanding, and sometimes a little time away. But what if the future is coming to haunt you? Such is the case with “Conduit.”
Phil and Sarah are a couple on a break, with Sarah staying with her parents while she thinks things through. But when Phil begins getting odd phone calls and videos of Sarah begging and pleading for help, he cannot help but be confused when she insists she had not tried to contact him. But as he works on a prototype of an advanced puzzle box at his job he becomes plagued with messages to the point of madness.
The combo of Ziritt and Sobreiro is a little saturated for what you have normally seen in the Bestiary”series so far, but it’s refreshing and definitely defines the different tone of the story. It’s thick lines and almost hurried look gives an air of panic to the troubles at hand, aiding the storytelling. You can feel the concern, but also the madness seeping into the world presented to you.
There’s definitely something I am missing with this story. I’m assuming that because Phil is creating a puzzle box prototype for his employer, that this is why the Cenobites have decided to plague him, but if he hasn’t done anything with it, nor has he come in contact with the actual puzzle box itself, why would they torment him? We are never put into the loop on why Sarah has decided to spend some time away to think. He could have very well done something unsavory to cause that decision on her part. But once again I have to bring up that if he hasn’t gotten involved with the actual box, I don’t know how or why the Cenobites have the ability to effect him. The ending is a bit abrupt, and there are no real questions answered. All in all a great idea, I just need a little more story to see the whole picture.
THE HUNTED, PART THREE
Illustrated By: Carlos Magno
Colors By: Matt Battaglia
We pick up where part two of The Hunted left off in Vatican City, Pinhead’s sights set on the thugs who weakened him and left him for dead. Impaired and bleeding would never stop our Cenobite Supreme, though. It may be taking him a little longer to get to his attackers and begin his vengeance, but it gives him time to plot their own personal hells. And as we all know, blood knows blood.
This addition to the “Hunted” story is a very quick one, but it gets right to the point. The force of Meares, Miller, Magno and Battaglia make you feel every last vow, every painful step our protagonist takes towards his goal, and the result is visceral. And as the plot deepens, we are left on the edge of our seats waiting for what happens next in the middle of Catholicism Central.
Hellraiser: Bestiary #3 is now available from BOOM! Studios.