‘Hellraiser: Bestiary’ #2 features the best and the worst stories of the series yet

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Hellraiser: Bestiary #2
Written by Various
Art by Various
Published by BOOM!

The anthology series Hellraiser: Bestiary continues with the second issue, which features the best and the worst stories of the two issues yet. It also continues a tale from issue one, which remains a very interesting tale unlike anything seen in Clive Barker’s hellish universe.

The first story is “Old Hat to Raise the Devil” by Christopher Taylor and art by Jason Shawn Alexander. Set in the American south, near the Mississippi River, a lonely guitar player, Calvin, encounters a stranger. The stranger gives the musician a new hat and a 13-string guitar covered in strange black and gold markings. Calvin wants nothing but to see the love of his life, Clara, one last time, and after playing the new guitar he summons Pinhead and the other Cenobites. He makes a deadly deal with them and in typical Hellraiser fashion, things get very dark and violent very quick. This art is the standout of the tale as Alexander’s art has the dark and surrealistic feeling of the paintings of Francis Bacon. Some cringe worthy images couldn’t look more beautiful.

“Hellbound Desire” written by Ben Meares, art by Amancay Nahuelpan, and colors by Matt Battagalia, is the shortest and most forgettable of all stories seen in either of the first two issues. Most of the story is meant to as if the reader is watching a webcam video of S&M fetish porn. It probably isn’t a good idea for a Hellraiser story to invoke memories of 2005’s awful Hellraiser: Hellworld, which was also about Pinhead on the internet. It ends with a very predictable non ending that will probably leave most feeling cold.

The final segment of the issue #2 is “The Hunted, Part Two”, by Ben Meares and Mark Miller and art by Carlos Magno. The continuation of the first issue’s third story, “Part Two” picks up right where the first one ended and sees the bounty hunters attempting to remove Pinhead’s pins. “The Hunted” continues to be a very different story for the Hellraiser universe and it is surprisingly disconcerting to see Pinhead get a taste of his own medicine.

Issue #2 is worth a read for fans of Hellraiser and horror in general. “Old Hat to Raise the Devil” is worth the cover price alone, even if “Hellbound Desire” is very much just filler.

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