ADVANCE REVIEW: Hellraiser #3

 HELLRAISER #3 (Cover Date: May 2011)
 Story by: Clive Barker & Christopher Monfetter
Art by: Stephen Thompson
Colours: Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: Travis Lanham
Cover by: Tim Bradtreeet
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Reviewed By: David O’ Leary
Book Summery: One of the greatest horror franchises of all time returns, now under the control of its original creator! Clive Barker has touched HELLRAISER only twice: once to write THE HELLBOUND HEART, and once more to write and direct the original HELLRAISER film. Now witness Barker’s long-awaited return to tell a new chapter in the series’ official continuity—a trajectory that will forever change the Cenobites…and Pinhead! In this issue, the machinations of Pinhead’s plans become more intense, and the horror they will unleash is getting closer to Kirsty! She thought she had a new life with friends and a fiancé but…the past is never buried for long!
I must confess to not being a fan of the Hellraiser series of film from years back but I got caught up in the buzz surrounding Clive Barker returning to comics with this series. I wasn’t expecting much but was surprised to find that the book was so accessible to new readers like myself that I have found myself enjoying the Hell, no pun intended, out of it. Leonardo Manco has drawn the two issues to date so I was given another surprise to find that Die Hard artist Stephen Thompson was on this issue.
This issue is framed around the author, Edgar, of the book ‘The Dream Sea and The Story Tree’ telling a packed auditorium about the origins of myths and legends. As he tells his tale we see various times in recent history where a guy called Alex collects antiquities so he can briefly see his imprisoned brother David for a short time but may have to reach a decision on how to continue following pleas from his brother to let him go. Barker and Monfetter do a great job of crafting a tale full of emotional punch and devastating loss with a wide array of characters. With the plot of the opening arc continuing to be revealed I don’t want to be giving loads away but I encourage readers to pick it up and sample for themselves an intelligently written piece of work.
Stephen Thompson is back at BOOM! following his run on Die Hard and his single issue of Magnus over at Dark Horse earlier this year and his art is the one thing about this issue that trumps all else. Don’t get me wrong, the story is good but his art is incredible. There are ton of instances in the issue where we see super detailed images that show off Thompson’s talents. I would love to see him on an extended run of a book and not a spot issue here and there. The script tests Thompson as he has to detail scenes ranging from the frozen depths of Hell to the brutal death of an unborn child. Every panel is fully fleshed out and it looks like he had a ton of fun drawing this.
I have been enjoying the run so far and with the addition of Stephen Thompson on this issue and Leonardo Manco leading off the first two issues with aplomb, I feel the book may become known for its art as much as the storytellers. There is no reason for anyone to not dip in here and sample this wonderful property, even non fans of the franchise will get something enjoyable out of it I’m sure, I know I have.
This book will go on release from tomorrow so run down to your local comic store and pick it up.