(BOOM! Studios, 2014)
Story by Clive Barker
Written by Marc Andreyko
Art by Piotr Kowalski
Colors by Juan Manuel Tumburus
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Remember sleepovers in the 80’s when you would stay up all night long watching films your parents wouldn’t let you at your own house, hoping that in reality none of the images would be too scary for you to handle by yourself, in your darkened bedroom, the next night? I have one friend whose birthday landed on Friday the 13th every couple of years, and he would treat us to those very types of movies. My introduction to horror classics like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Exorcist may never have happened without those parties and the copious amounts of Pepsi provided by his parents. (And bless those very patient and understanding people. I would never consent to five eleven-year-old boys and that much sugar.) I don’t recall seeing Hellraiser, or any of the other Clive Barker films there, but I may not have given them a second glance afterwards if it hadn’t been for that foundation.
Nightbreed #2 creeps up through the floor grates this week and slithers onto the comic shelves, nestling itself in with the rest of the superhero books, waiting to nibble at your unsuspecting fingers as you reach for your copy of Big Trouble in Little China or The Adventures of Gumball.
The master of horror brings his talents again to the comic world, in a story by Clive Barker and written by Marc Andreyko (Batwoman, Manhunter) this second issue continues the savagery that was set forth in the first, and adds an interesting twist to the tale. Because you see, this is not the story of a group of wayward teens lost amidst the minions of a hellish creature, but a tale from the point of view of the creatures, forever lost in a world of humans who won’t or can’t understand them. It’s the mutant story again, this time done with monsters. (As if the title were not Hellraiser, but Pinhead’s Very Sad Day.)
We’re following several tales at once. Peloquin is perfectly Barker in design, with red, lizardy skin, tentacles that sprout like dreadlocks, and pointy teeth and claws. He tears through a bunch of slave owners in 1850’s Louisiana, bites a runaway slave and makes her like him in a very vampiric moment, and then goes to exact revenge on the men who had fled.
Shuna is the prickly mistress of a senator in the 1940’s. Prickly not in character but in physical appearance, as she has sharp spines and quills all over her body. She is locked in the basement of a brothel in Boston, the secret of the Madame and a lure that the senator cannot resist.
There is also a mysterious character, a monk-like man with…gills?…on his face, who has knowledge that could be vital to these peoples survival. A place called “Midian” which is what “calls” to each of them. He is the one collecting these people together, telling them of their shared existence, but the reason is unknown.
Piotr Kowalski (Sex, Marvel Knights: Hulk) brings the Barker feeling to this book by having characters that feel right for the genre. He has the unique chance to draw a horror and time travel book at the same time, and is excelling at it.
If you’re a fan of horror films, or more specifically Clive Barker films, than this is another way to enjoy that style of scary. On the other hand, this could be just another ingenious way to get a horror fan involved with a team book, because that’s certainly what this feels like, the origin story of a super hero team.
Either way, Nightbreed #2 is a surefire hit for fans of horror comics. Remember that this is Clive Barker, so bring on the blood!
Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.