Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #11 Retro Review
Aztec Mythology takes center stage for this issue. D.G. Chichester returns for a two part tale that steps outside of the regular Midian Crew to show us what Breed Elsewhere are up to. Mark Nelson, who returns for several other issues of both Nightbreed and Hellraiser, provides the pictures this time.
This issue starts with a quick scene of Boone and Lori trying to hop a train, and having to deal with some shady character who had nefarious plans for both of them. Boone quickly kills him and they hop the train. The Narration then informs us that there are other Breed out there…
Cue the Narrative Switch to some Aztec Ruins somewhere in the Jungles of South America. An unnamed (at least in this issue) insect-like character brings some Meat from a carcass to a Temple,where Izpapolotl and Tezcatlipoca hide, as an offering. These two Nightbreed are also Gods from Aztec mythology. Tezcatlipoca is usually identified with a Jaguar and his appearance here matches that. Izpapolotl, on the other hand is a little harder to describe. At first, I thought she was a Walrus type thing, but that makes little to no sense. One of the translations of her name is “Obsidian Butterfly,” and with that knowledge, I can see how she might be a Caterpillar type thing, maybe?
I will admit right now, that I am not that familiar with Aztec Mythology. However, the research that I did for this review has sparked an interest. While we are on the subject of research, I came across another neat nugget of knowledge. There is another Aztec God that is associated with Tezcatlipoca, and that is Xipe Totec. Yes, that would be Pinhead’s Cenobite name in the original Hellraiser comics….Curious.
Anyways, back to the story. Tez (I am just going to call him Tez from hear on out, if you don’t mind) seems unhappy with the offering. A piece of Rancid Meat is unworthy in his eyes. He laments the days he was worshipped as a God. These “Gods” know of Cabal’s search for a New Midian (curious that it is referred to as Mictlan, the Aztec Underworld, here), and Tez wants to seize the opportunity to reclaim his past glory. Izzy (yeah, you know who I mean) comes across as a lot more maternal, understanding, and patient. She tries to calm Tez down.
Elsewhere, some humans, including a Journalist, are about to embark on an expedition into the jungle by River Boat. Most of the team don’t even know where they are going, or why. It is actually kind of unclear as to what they are doing at this point. It almost seems like it is a Sightseeing tour. At the Temple, Tez smells Naturals, which apparently is a smell that is a distant memory for him. But he doesn’t want to eat them. These Gods are still mindful of Baphomet’s laws. No, he wants to be worshipped and feared.
Back to the Humans, none of which seem all that likeable, which means I want to see them all come to horrible ends. They are traveling down river, and don’t seem to be doing a whole lot other than drinking and sexually harrassing the Female Journalist. Oh and Arguing. There is a lot of Arguing. They come across another boat, this one filled with Soldiers of some sort. It is unclear if these are some sort of Pirates, are just actual Government supported Soldiers are what, but they are very disagreeable. Things get out of and people die. Not a whole lot of time has been spent on establishing anybody, so I can only say “people die.” The tour boat gets shot up and they have to make landfall and leave boat behind, which, of course, explodes. So now we have all these unlikeable humans, stranded in the Jungle, being watched by a former god.
Tez wants to go to pay them a visit, but Izzy won’t let him. He can’t stand being holed up and forgotten in the Temple any longer. He decides, “When the Sun kisses the Earth, I will take my proper place in this temple once more…” Meanwhile, the Hapless Campers decide to make a path near the Ruins, because it will be less likely to encounter Patrols there. One of the campers decides to tell everybody else where they are and what not, while they are all gathered around the Campfire. Unfortunately…
After he makes his presence felt, Tez tells them, “Don’t trust your mind. Just believe.” Tez kills the one guy, I think his name was Monoco, but it doesn’t seem like he eats him. Just kills him. So that everybody knows of his existence. One of the more local members of the team, says that he recognizes him from stories from his grandmother. He is Texcatlipoca, The Warrior God! He also thinks that this group is meant to welcome the Ancient Gods into today. Nobody else really believes him, though. Izzy and The Bug Guy stay safely hidden in the temple, but Izzy knows that this night will bring nothing but tragedy.
I really enjoyed the concept of this story, with the Breed being worshipped as gods, but the actual execution of the story isn’t Chichester’s best. I don’t know if all the humans were so unlikeable and under developed by design, or what. I guess since the book is about the Nightbreed, and empathizing with their plight, the Humans should be distasteful. If that is the plan, then this issue was a success.
This story concludes in the next issue, so join me next time as I get into Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #12!