Clive Barker’s Hellraiser Issue 4 Retro Review
The fourth issue continues with the Three story format, which I prefer. The first story, titled “Cenobite!” is written by somebody very familiar with Cenobites, The Chatterer himself, Nicholas Vince. The Art is provided by John Van Fleet who is mostly known for his cover work, including some issues of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser! The story revolves around a soldier, Leverett, and the rough life he lead on his road to becoming a Cenobite. From Sadistic nuns in the Orphanage to the Hell that is War, Leverett has flashes of all of these during the Cenobite conversion process. When it is all done, he is told he will be joining Leviathan’s Holy War with his new Cenobite name…Slave! I really liked the concept of a person’s life flashing before their eyes in order to take account of everything that has led them to the moment of becoming a Cenobite. [Click the Link to Continue]
“Like Flies to Wanton Boys” is the title of our middle story. Scott Hampton returns with his amazing Artwork. His sister Bunny Hampton-Mack is the author. The story takes place at a dinner party, in what I am guessing is 18h century London. The host tells a story of some friends that had been at a New Year’s Eve Party…..Some puzzles are brought out to entertain the guests. There is one puzzle in particular that seems to be stumping everybody. I will give you one guess what shape it is. One guest, Ian, solves it with very little difficulty. When Ian, goes upstairs to recieve coats, the Mansion turns into a Labrinth of Darkness. Only thing he could see was a series of Golden Doors, which just led to another Door, further off in the distance, with the door he just went through disappearing. It is important at this point to mention that earlier in the story, Ian had revealed how much he preferred Solitude to the company of others. Anyways, this journey weakens him to the point of almost death. He finally reaches the next door, only to find it locked. He pounded on the door, until it was opend from the other side. He found himself crawling through a cupboard in his own Kitchen, four days after he disappeared. When he recovered, he was a changed man. He never let his wife leave his side and didn’t leave his bedroom for a whole year. He firmly believed the Puzzle Box had something to do with his ordeal, but the man who owned the Puzzles was nowhere to be found. He felt there were malignant forces against him, and this new isolation from the outside world was the only way to keep them at bay. They did not step outside of their house for seven years…. Back to the original Party where this tale started. Things get confusing for me at this point. Too many of the characters look a like, but it seems that an emergency (and that is the really confusing part) arises that causes Ian to be seperated from his wife who abruptly disappears, leaving Ian alone again. I loved this story until the ending. I am just not sure what happened there.
Our final story marks the return of Jan Strnad and his Cenobite creation, Face. “To Prepare a Face” was beautifully painted by Mark Chiarello, who not ony was the first colorist for Hellboy, but was the Editor at DC Comics responsible for the superstar teamup that created the Batman fan favorite storyline, “Hush.” The story is the origin of Face. Without ever actually using his name, the implication here is that Face was originally Lon Chaney. It chronicles his career, and how he went from makeup to more extreme measures to create his “Faces” for the movies. Starting with his attempts to “find the right face” for Fagin in Oliver Twist, in which he finds a corpse and removes the face to use in the movie, all the way to Phantom of the Opera, where he plans on altering and using a Rivals face for the role of The Phantom. The police catch up to him at this point, but before he gets apprehended for the atrocities he has committed for his art, Pinhead intervenes. The rest, as we say, is history. The first two Face stories confused me a little, because he didn’t seem to be the Master Thespian I remember from his later stories, but this one rectified that. I loved this story. Does it stray from the actual history of Lon Chaney? Yes, it does take a certain “Artistic License” but it never actually uses his name. You can tell from the artwork though, that this is the iconic “Man of 1000 Faces” with iconic images of his Quasimodo and The Phantom of the Opera. It makes the later stories with Face that much more fun, putting a Name to a Face…as it were.
Another great issue. I have to say it has been really refreshing reading these stories again. I have never read them in order like this before. When I started collecting these, I would read one whenever I got them, but they are hard enough to find that you can’t help but aquire them out of order. On that note, it is difficult to find an exact publishing order, by both Month and Year for these books. I am fairly certain that Nightbreed had started by now, so to change things up, for the next few weeks, I will be covering the first four issues of the Nighbreed comic. Join me next time for Clive Barker’s Night Breed #1!!!