REVIEW: Hellraiser #4

HELLRAISER #4 (Cover Date: June 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
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, Pinhead and Kirsty Cotton collide in a way that neither of them could possibly imagine. And when these two face off— no one is safe!

“Pursuit of the Flesh Part4”

I’m really starting to love this book. The book was a little shaky at the start but has grown into itself in a really short space of time. It’s fiercely accessible so a large working knowledge of the history isn’t required but at the same time the story is so engaging that it may be one of may favourite books to look forward to each month.
This issue highlights just how intelligent this book actually is. More than the previous three issues this one reads like the second act of a summer blockbuster movie and considering that this is based on a movie franchise I couldn’t help but picture this in my head as such. A succession of fantastically structured scenes helped strengthen my already positive feelings on the title. The book opens with a darkly beautiful and silent scene where an underground living kid finds the box and brings it to her father who immediately realises its dark force and wants rid of it but unfortunately for him and his kin it is too late to do anything about it as the box slaughters them and rapidly moves around the underground until it destroys a subway train in the standout scene in the book that was as gory as it was hauntingly beautiful to look at. Kirsty has a conversation with Pinhead that may have told as much about Pinhead’s motivations than any of the three issues to date.
I read just about every book that BOOM! puts out so I have a good idea of what every book looks like and I can say with all sincerity that Stephen Thompson is one of their best artists hands down. From the opening dialogue free scene which I love to see a writer doing as it makes the artist tell the story for them and I think artists like to do this as it flexes them, to the graphic scene where the train is ripped apart is done with an almost operatic fluidity that though extremely gory was still quite beautiful. That scene wasn’t rushed or details not hidden, it was just in your face and paced with great poise. On more than one occasion Jordie Bellaire’s colours leaped off the page. Thompson’s pencils are multi layered and incredibly detailed so it provided Bellaire a chance to add more than the minimum required and instead worked her into utilising all her skills to add so much depth to the already great looking story. That and Kirsty’s green eyes are oddly alluring!
As this story is still in its early stages it should still be easy enough to find previous issues so I implore you to pick it up as it is marking out a real spot for itself on many reading lists and when you see the sales lists, it is creeping up there to become one of the company’s top books. Great stuff.