Nightbreed #1 from BOOM! Studios Review

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“Clive Barker’s Nightbreed” #1 is the fresh new release from BOOM! Studios. Written by Marc Andreyko with art by Piotr Kowalski, it opens with Lylesburg in present time, in an underground tunnel of what we may recognize as the old Midian from the popular Nightbreed movie, where he breaks the 4th wall to speak directly to us (or an as yet unknown character) as he guides us to the Wall of Prophecy, where we’re reminded of the key characters in the mythology and the events that we all remember from the Nightbreed movie or the book Cabal: Baphomet, Boone being bitten by Peloquin, the Breed’s enemies…

Lylesburg also reminds us that we’re not alone and have never been alone; that Midian has always been a haven for the outsiders, the creatures of the night, the last remnants of the great tribes. It appears that the following stories might show us some of the backstory for these characters we may remember from  the great Nightbreed Chronicles, if not the movie.

We’re suddenly dropped into the middle of the action in a quite distant year of 1857, in Lacombe, Louisiana. An ugly reminder of some of America’s dark past, making it clash with familiar characters and how they operate. We’re given a glimpse on some backstory for Peloquin, a very chaotic and unfettered Peloquin (who hails from his tribe known as The Qualm) still very much hungry for human flesh, as he’s always been.

Then the story jumps again to April of 1945, a month where the Allies were about to close in on Hitler, a Senator visits a very special house, and yet another Nightbreed character is introduced. The common thread in these two characters seems to be that they’re still living very much in the Natural world, but while one is the very definition of freedom in the wilderness, the other lives in a luxurious golden cage. I’m sure these will at some point soon make their way to Midian, so I’m looking forward to that story.

A word about the continuity used for these characters: it seems to be drinking straight from the source conceived by Clive Barker, which a lot of fans will be happy to hear. I’m sure a lot of original stories will make their way to this regular series, but the structure seems solid and friendly to the established back story for the Breed. Time will tell how many will make a comeback.

The book has 22 pages of amazing art. Kowalski really adds to the story with extremely elaborate backgrounds that really add to the experience and immersion in the story. His attention to detail is very refreshing. The characters are instantly recognizable and whatever few differences we may spot (Peloquin’s head tentacles) are not that disruptive. The story by Andreyko, as mentioned before, drinks from the source material in large gulps and hints at very cool directions for the characters presented. I was briefly confused at the time jumps between the subplots (we start at now, then go back 157 years, then almost 90 years pass between one page and the next and back again) but I expect that to reveal itself to be more relevant as the story progresses. It’s a dream come true to see Nightbreed return to comic book form after the cancelling of the original comic run by Marvel on #25, March 1993.

The top notch artwork and the storytelling linked directly to the existing mythology make it an amazing experience, I hope this series goes on for a long time. Whether it will be linked to the previously existing comic series still remains to be seen, as it appears this may be more of a reboot than a continuation. So if anyone out there is waiting to see Rawhead Rex appear on this new series, or the continuation of Boone’s romantic interest with Shuna Sassi the 90s run seemed to end on, you may be waiting in vain. But only time will tell.