First published back in 1990, the fifth issue of Epic Comics’ original ‘Hellraiser’ offshoot series contained another four short stories designed to expand upon Clive Barker’s Hellraiser mythos.  Although Barker didn’t write any of the stories contained within the original Epic Comics ‘Hellraiser’ series, he did however act as a consultant for each issue.

Firetrap – 15 pages
James Robert Smith (Writer) – Mike Hoffman (Artwork / Letterer)

Steve Whitcomb needed to get to the ‘Old Home Place’ before Byron got there.  Byron had left Whitcomb a crazy note.  He knew Byron hated his father with a passion.  Now Whitcomb feared for the entire family’s welfare.  Byron was crazy.  And Whitcomb knew there was a good chance he’d flipped out and done something stupid.  Possibly turned up at the family reunion and reaped some terrible revenge on his father.  Now Whitcomb had to get to the family home as quick as he could and see how far Byron had gone with his madness…

Starting off this fifth comic we have another offering by writer James Robert Smith.  In ‘Hellraiser: Book 2’ (1990) Smith offered up a chilling tale encompassing the fragility of the human body.  The story was a slowburner which cast a wonderfully eerie net across its entirety.  The only real drawback with the tale was with the weakass comical looking Cenobites.  With Smith’s second offering, unfortunately not only do we see the return of the very same badly-envisioned Cenobites, but we also have quite a weak and meandering story that sadly fails to engage the reader at any stage.  Very possibly the weakest Hellraiser story to date.

Glitter And Go – 21 pages
Ron Wolfe (Writer) – Dan Spiegle (Artwork) – Carrie Spiegle (Letterer)

The first occurrence occurred in Calcutta in January of 1990.  Since then more than one hundred mass jumps off of office towers had been documented across the globe.  Specific mannerisms from those involved in the mass suicides had been noted – in particular the phenomenon of ‘glitter’.  The victims could be seen throwing bright objects into the air immediately before taking the inevitable jump to their death.  Now Alex’s older brother – Allen – was missing.  Alex feared the worst.  He already owed his brother a debt that hung heavy on his conscience.  Now he had to work out what was going on with these mass jumps.  He had to unlock the puzzle that was staring him in the face.  Only then would he be able to locate his lost brother…

Well this one’s certainly original.  Writer Ron Wolfe offers up a strange story of mass suicide accompanied by the strange ritual of casting glittery objects into the air.  Interwoven with this you have a scientist named Alex who is searching for his brother – Allen – who may well have joined the ranks of the ‘Glitter & Go’ jumpers.  It’s an interesting concept, with plenty of potential for sucking the reader in.  Sadly Wolfe seems to get a tad too wrapped up with the idea of slowly unravelling the weird mystery, to the determent of the story itself.  There’s a couple of nice twists and a good backbone of a plot behind it, however, the execution is far too clunky and mildly confusing to really make the tale anything but moderately disappointing.

Mazes Of The Mind – 11 pages
Mark Nelson (Writer / Artwork) – Willie Schubert (Letterer)

He had a mind that was constantly searching for a pure formula or equation.  When he found the box, it became his mathematical gateway.  It gave him the means to shed his fleshy form, and finally get closer to the pure equation.  In Hell Leviathan has provided him with everything he needed.  His own private workshop in Hell to create new guardians and gateways.  Let the work begin…

I like this one.  Although there’s not really all that much of a story within it, it’s nevertheless got enough intrigue within the story to pull you into its cold embrace.  Writer Mark Nelson sets down the formation of a whole new Cenobite – one created through the mind rather than flesh.  Visually the Cenobite looks somewhat akin to the Scythe Meister from Barker’s ‘Tortured Souls’ collection.  He’s a good ‘un, and adds a much needed element of pain and suffering to the story.  As the story draws to a close Nelson attempts to project his storyline on for a couple of decades, with glimpses of the echoing repercussions of his Cenobite’s influence.  This is possibly the only element that doesn’t work all that well; feeling far too brief and simplified for a suitable conclusion.  Still, not a bad little story, all in all.

Dear Diary – 11 pages
Sholly Fisch (Writer) – Colleen Doran (Artwork) – Jade Moede (Letterer)

Lindsay was more than a little excited to be going on a date to the carnival with Bill.  He was more than just cute.  Bill seemed to actually like her.  Like this date could be the start of something special.  Something that could last forever.  To Lindsay’s delight the date went well too.  Bill won her a teddy, as well as something a tad more unusual.  A small intricately detailed puzzle box.  Bill gave it to her, to hide away and solve when she was alone.  It would be their secret.  Their wonderful secret… 

This final story in the comic is quite a different one.  Although the lament configuration makes an appearance in the storyline, there’s not actually all that much ‘Hellraiser’ in there.  The story is relatively slow, building upon a standard ‘teenage-first-date’ style story.  In fact, it’s all pretty run-of-the-mill American High School stuff as far as the basic storyline goes.  You’ve got all the usual excitement prior to the first date, followed by the unsurprising let-down which brings Lindsay tumbling back down to Earth with a soul-destroying crash.  The unfortunate twist ending is equally as predictable - sadly making for quite a disappointing final read.

The comic runs for a total of 64 pages.

 © DLS Reviews

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