Clive Barker’s Hellraiser Volume 4 graphic novel review

Clive Barker’s Hellraiser Volume 4 trade paperback is out 14 November 2012

Clive Barker's Hellraiser Vol 4 comic-book

Boom! Studios’ new Hellraiser comic series has been something of an attempt by Clive Barker and his comrade Mark Miller (not Millar) to reclaim the series for the forces of good so to speak.

Compared to all the abominable Hellraiser movies since the comedy genius of Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth (which featured death by CD to the cranium), it’s certainly been a much more focused attempt at getting what could be a potent franchise back on form. It’s been well drawn, and is full of the poetic flourishes associated with Barker’s writing.

Spoilers alert. The plot thus far has seen Pinhead and Kirsty Cotton – the heroine from the original movie – trade places. In previous issues Pinhead complained of being tired of Hell, and the Machiavellian masochist manages to orchestrate things in such a way that his nemesis Kirsty takes his place, leading to Pinhead (his real name Eliot Spencer) being sent back to Earth, apparently seeking salvation.

However, the events of Volume 4 show that Pinhead’s not exactly been honest, thus creating a new dynamic as Kirsty and her new Cenobites attempt to save Earth.

Though it’s well written and the art is good, something feels amiss, and compared to the tense, earlier issues things have gone loopy. Iconic characters come out with dialogue you wouldn’t expect, and the scale’s suddenly gone supernova, with the Pentagon and suchlike getting involved. That said, this is still a fun series, and it’s where actual fans of the acupunctured one should go for their kicks, especially considering the depths the film series has fallen to. The role reversals are a neat twist, and it raises interesting questions about the Cenobites, who apparently aren’t the merciless evil beings they appear to be.