Review: Clive Barker’s Next Testament # 6 (of 12)
There’s a lot of controversy going around as of late so I thought to myself, why not add more fuel to the fire by reviewing what could arguably be the most controversial book to come out in the past decade. So for those who have not yet taken the time to pick up this masterpiece or are on the fence about it, allow me to pull a Marvel and give you the recap, and for those who are already caught up, hang with me for just a moment while I enlighten the masses and speak to them of the “good news.”
From the beautifully twisted mind that brought you Candyman, Clive Barker along with Mark Miller brings us a story about a man named Julian Demond, a captain of industry that leaves everything he has behind and embarks on a quest that he believes is coming from god, only to be stranded in the middle of the desert and discovering a being unlike any other, a being that goes by the name Wick that claims to be god, but not just any god, the old testament god, the hell fire and brimstone god and to top it off hes pi**ed or at least it seems like he is. So with the help of his now servant Julian, Wick decides to make his presence felt across the planet by displaying random feats of power and controlled chaos that only a self-proclaimed divine being can bring about the world. On the other side of the coin we have Julian’s estranged son Tristan and his lover Elspeth who have found out about Julian’s recent absence and decide to take a look for themselves only to be caught off guard by the nigh omnipotent being. Thinking that the answers to their problem at hand lie north, “the lovers” as Wick calls them decide to embark on a journey of their own heading north only to meet obstacle after obstacle each one being harder than the last. And with no one to help them but each other and with no “god” to turn to, can Tristan and Elspeth get to their destination in time before they are inadvertently destroyed by Wick’s unpredictable displays of power?
Now that were all on the same page this issue like the previous ones hits the ground running, throwing us in the middle of all the madness. Wick decides to amuse the masses with a little Q&A and of course what fun would it be without the unknown factor that is Wick himself answering everyones queries, and as the story progresses Julian is slowly starting to doubt and question Wick’s impulsive decisions. Meanwhile Tristan and Elspeth are trying their hardest to escape some town in the middle of nowhere where the citizens there want their heads on a stick for speaking such blasphemous things against god. Towards the end you can see how both storylines are starting to gravitate towards one another slowly with every other page, and that can not be more clear than in the last couple of pages and the cliffhanger where the unthinkable happens (again).
This issue, hell this story has been nothing but a roller coaster ride from the start. From the pacing, the dialogue, the chemistry and character development even the transitions between the two plots not giving an inch keeping this title in borderline perfect harmony. The only flaws that I can safely state mainly come from the art itself, but as my other reviews state, this is not the type of story “big two” caliber talent are used to, so it takes a special type of madness to organically craft this powerful story with ease, so I am personally whelmed with the art though I can’t shake the feeling that it could be polished a little more if need be. Another flaw I noticed also happens to be the stories greatest strength and that’s the story itself. I know what you’re thinking, “But dude! you were just praising the story a minute ago! how can you go from calling it almost perfect to it’s biggest weakness?!” Simple, the story is a masterpiece because of what it is about, because it subliminally questions the second coming and asks the reader what they would do if the final days where to unfold as such. And because of that at this day and age religion has become nothing but a touchy subject that is often received with nothing short of negativity and controversy, and this book shines a light to that as well. I’m not saying that this book or its writers have some sort of agenda, let’s be real these stories are coming from one of the best minds in the horror genre. In the end it is the controversy and unpredictability within the pages of this instant “need-to-be-film” classic that keeps the daring reader coming back, but also keeps it from reaching a broader audience in the process.