First published back in July of 1992, issue sixteen Epic Comics’ serial adaptation of Clive Barker’s ‘Nightbreed’ sported the subtitle ‘Hymn To Rawhead’.

The first four issues of the ‘Nightbreed’ comics closely followed the storyline of the film, only slightly veering away from it with minor details.  The twenty-one issues that followed continued on with the Nightbreed legacy – creating whole new spin-off storylines that would eventually bring in aspects from some of Barker’s other work.

This issue formed the fourth and final instalment in the ‘Nightbreed vs Rawhead Rex’ four part series.

DLS Synopsis:
The Nightbreed had something they knew Algernon Kinder - and more importantly the beast Rawhead Rex - wanted.  Having taken a shotgun blast to the groin, the last chance Rawhead Rex had of continuing its bloodline now rested within the swelling belly of recently deceased Leah Qlipoth.  The gradually cooling corpse that the breed now cradled in their hands.  But they’d need some help if they were going to save the child.  They’d need someone who knew what they were doing with childbirth.

The help would come from a midwife named Cynthia.  After abducting her via a fake callout during her nightshift, the breed are able to start putting the preparations towards their final plan together.  If they’re to get Maximillian back from within the gut of Rawhead Rex, then they’d need a few other things.  Namely a recently deceased baby and a whole load of luck.

The dead infant wasn’t too difficult to obtain.  Gallows had her paralysing hand and looks to call upon.  However, the real challenge would be in getting the swallowed child out of the great beast’s stomach.  For that Bloodybones will have to go where no sane creature should ever dare venture.  Into the very pit of Rawhead Rex’s gut.

It’s time the Nightbreed played their final hand…

DLS Review:
Here we have the concluding instalment in the four-part ‘Rawhead Rex’ mini-series.  And fair do’s to writer D.G. Chichester, everything’s now in place for one mother of a showdown.

The comic sets off straight in the thick of the escalating madness.  The Nightbreed have already formulated their crazyass plan and now it’s time to see how the whole thing’s going to play out.  Of course we’re not privy to what they’ve got planned.  That would ruin the surprise of it all.  So we just sit back and watch as they orchestrate some pretty weird shit that will eventually culminate in a completely off-the-wall rescue mission for Bloodybones’ infant son – Maximillian.

Aside from the main body of the story there’s also a small amount of backpedalling early on in the comic, whereby we glimpse a time when a tribe of the colossal beasts – of which Rawhead Rex was just one part of – roamed the land, raping and murdering as they went.  It’s a brief glimpse of a period which we’ve never seen before.  A history behind this savage god that is revealed for the first time here.  And from this Chichester is able to set in motion the reasoning for the beast’s single-minded drive to bare a son.

To be fair, the comic certainly hurtles along at a fair old pace.  As the reader, we’re flung about the place as soon as we begin this final chapter in the Rawhead Rex meets the Nightbreed story.  There’s a lot of shit going on all at once, a lot of characters converging onto one spot, and they’re all intricately woven into this elaborate and utterly bizarre plan of the Nightbreed’s.

The style of artwork has once again changed quite considerably.  Now we have your absolute textbook comicbook style, with the expressive yet detailed pen and ink work accompanied by bold block colouring.  It’s a style that definitely works well with this action-rich last instalment – adding plenty of motion and energy to many of the final scenes.

The ending itself is about as wacky and bizarre as they come.  But it works.  And it certainly makes for an entertaining conclusion to the mini-series.  In fact, it’s very probably the most entertaining of all the four instalments, and just makes you want to crack on with the next set of stories.

The comic runs for a total of 28 pages (plus an additional ‘Breeding Ground’ page which once again comprises of a readers’ letters).

© DLS Reviews

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