Hellraiser Nightbreed Jihad #1
Released January 1991
Artist: Paul Johnson
Once upon a time in the eighties, Marvel cared about horror. To be more specific, it cared about horror franchises enough to want to sell comics starring those franchises. Among these was a Nightmare on Elm Street, which had a magazine that lasted two issues and was pulled (at least in part due to the Satanic Panic still being a large part of the American consciousness), plus some others that went to the Epics Comics imprint. Among these were Hellraiser and Nightbreed, both Clive Barker creations. In 1991, those two franchises were combined in the 2 issue miniseries, Hellraiser/Nightbreed: Jihad. It's the first issue that I'm going to be looking at here.
Storywise. We're given a solid set of circumstances that allow the two franchises to connect and to actually meld into each other,. What I find REALLY interesting is that D.G. Chichester managed to merge these two franchises so seamlessly without losing what was unique to either.
Even from the beginning, we're shown the structure and order of Hellraiser's Cenobites juxtaposed with the passion, lust of life and sheer chaotic nature of Peloquin, one of the Nightbreed who plays a central part in this story. From there, we're shown some of the inner workings of Hell and it's processes, where a cleansing of sorts is declared to rid the Earth of the Nightbreed. This doesn't quite go as planned when it becomes apparent that not only are the Nightbreed a less than easy target, but that the war itself is being manipulated. The plot moves forward in a way that feels consistent with the mythos created in the original Hellraiser and Nightbreed comics. Beloved characters from both franchises make an appearance here, so there's no lack of familiar faces for people that are hardcore fans.
Visually, the art is dark, as you'd expect from a combination of two franchises created by Clive Barker. This particular style isn't something that detracts from the story at all though. Paul Johnson has done a fantastic job of painting the story, with a style that is semi-realistic, but able to show the inherently surreal qualities of both the Cenobites and the Nightbreed. The style manages to toe the line between lifelike and able to handle the inherent fantastical elements that come from Nightbreed and the horrifying from Hellraiser.
For fans of either franchise, or both of them for that matter, this is a must have.
Overall, it gets 4.5/5 from me.
-Phillip St Clair Martin