Clive Barker’s Nightbreed (Volume One)

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Nightbreed 1Following in the vein of the successful relaunch of Hellraiser comics by BOOM! Studios, they have brought us another collaboration with Clive Barker, bringing one more of his beloved worlds to life – that of Nightbreed. The original novel that brought these fantastical characters to life was called Cabal, and the movie based on that story became Nightbreed. Scream Factory has recently brought out an incredible Blu-ray restoration of the movie that is a must-watch.

This graphic novel collects issues 1-4 of the comics. For those not familiar, the Nightbreed are a secret society or tribe of monsters and are persecuted by humanity for being different.  Considered freaks due to their looks or actions, they are feared, hunted, and killed in the human world. They find sanctuary with others of their kind in a place called Midian, a city below a cemetery.

This first volume explores the history of some of the major characters from the original story. The writing is excellent, with strong stories following Clive Barker’s vision for his creations. He conjured up such unique, beautiful, and monstrous creatures that exploring their history provides many opportunities that have been well taken advantage of. We get to see how Peloquin, Shuna and Chocolat came to Midian. Through the story we learn of their lives immediately preceding their salvation, when they were found by the leader of the breed, Dirk Lylesburg. All the threads in this volume are strong and the art is terrific. The sensuality of Shuna and the bestial nature of Peloquin are captured incredibly well by the artist. There is also plenty of violence and gore galore to accompany the dramatic aspects of their lives. The story is about all those secondary characters, so we don’t see much of the hero, Aaron Boone, from Clive Barker’s original. His story has been told but not those of the other Midian residents.

The part of the story that I’m most excited about is that of the priest who appeared towards the end of the original story. Priest Ashberry looks to be a dark nemesis for the Nightbreed in stories to come, and we learn of his serial killing in the name of God that brought him to that point. He’s always been a fascinating character who I’ve wanted to know more about. Driven both by his carnal weaknesses and his distorted view of service to God, he punishes himself with self-flagellation and others with death. His exploits again raise the theme of “who are the real monsters?”

In the next volume there will be more back stories to other characters and I can’t wait! I’m really looking forward to reading a story about my favorite character, Narcisse, which I’m sure will be coming. It’s been a joy to read about these already fascinating characters who’ve now been given real depth. I’ve read this volume a few times, as it has great re-readability. There is so much scope to widen the Nightbreed mythos and so many directions to take it. I’m eagerly awaiting future volumes. I highly recommend checking out the Hellraiser series from BOOM! Studios as well. They are wonderful and really expand on the Hellraiser universe in a way that the movie sequels never did.

9/10

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Book Cover Blurb:

A secret society of monsters and misfits, The Nightbreed have always been with us.

New in canon stories from Midian and the world of NIGHTBREED based on the cult horror film! Explore both the past and the present of this clandestine tribe of creatures, unleashing new secrets and horrors as they fight to coexist with mankind. As Peloquin makes meat of slave owners, he will soon discover his true hatred for naturals. The only ones to trust are those made of the night. In another time, a world away, Shuna Sassi only knows a life of fear. With the death of an important senator, she is cast out from the world of prostitution and forced into the sewers. The voice of the man she has killed haunts her very soul, but will it tempt her to finally give herself the ultimate end? Before FABLES, before ONCE UPON A TIME, Clive Barker created a secret town of monsters that live among us. Don’t worry if you’ve never seen the film—Barker and writer Marc Andreyko (MANHUNTER) have crafted a story that all horror fans can enjoy. Add to the mix Piotr Kowalski’s art (MARVEL KNIGHTS: HULK) and this is a story that can’t be missed. Collects NIGHTBREED #1-#4.