A Hell Of A Mess

Clive Barker returns to his most famous creation, and I really wish that the results had lived up to the level of excitement a statement like that would warrant.

The comic gets off to a strong start, with the Pinhead having succumbed to the one enemy he cannot hope to defeat: Boredom. He’s exhausted all the pleasures and pain his demonic existence has to offer, and he asks that those who rule Hell allow him to become mortal once more. That way, whether he ultimately ascends to Heaven or falls back into Hell, at least it will be something new.

Meanwhile, Kirsty Cotton (the protagonist of the original Hellraiser movie) has assembled a team of others who, like her, have survived encounters with the Cenobites and the cursed devices they use as gateways to enter our world. And someone has begun helping these Harrowers conduct their crusade against the Cenobites, but who is it, and why?

It’s a great setup, and includes a number of truly great moments (including a use of the Lament Configuration in the first issue that was both original and shocking), but ultimately he whole was less than the sum of its parts. Too much of the art is murky to the point of rendering characters unrecognizable or nearly so. Characters pop in and out of the plot seemingly at random. And the resolution to the plot is never set up adequately beforehand.

The comic bills itself as being written by Clive Barker with assistance from a number of collaborators, but it reads more like Barker wrote an outline of how he wanted the story to unfold, and then left it to the others to try to fill in the blanks.

Recommendation: Borrow. It has its moments, but there aren’t enough to warrant buying it.