First published back in July of 2001, Clive Barker’s ‘Six Destines’ short stories were penned to accompany the first series of the ‘Tortured Souls’ action figure set, which were sculpted and designed by Todd McFarlane.  This first series included six figures, each of which included their own individual short story which told the reader a little of the mythology behind the figure.  A second series of action figures was later released in October of 2002; however a short story did not accompany any of these later action figures.

The fifth story in the series is for ‘Venal Anatomica’ and forms Book Five of the ‘Six Destinies’ titled ‘The Haunter Of Primordium’.

DLS Synopsis:
Following their encounter with Talisac, the three generals return to their Military Headquarters whereupon Bogoto leaves to take solace from the reader of fortunes, Greta Sabatier.  And there, the cards reveal to the General that Primordium is on the verge of collapse.  He is duly advised to leave before it is too late.  Sabatier herself declares that she plans to leave the very next day, wishing to seek refuge at nearby Calyx.

Meanwhile, amongst the deserted properties along Diamanda Street, the house that once belonged to the murdered Senator is now the lurid attraction for voyeurs of the perverse.  From within the dimly-lit depths of the house, lovemaking of the most exquisite kind can be heard, the air around the property thick with the passion of the two lovers inside.  And soon word gets back to General Montefalco, who takes to the streets to witness this sordid attraction.

And there, whilst the sounds of the lovemaking draws in the sordid and the perverse, Montefalco meets with Urbano; their joint agreement made to kill those who pursued such lurid passion here within the city.  And so Monefalco returns to Talisac’s underground laboratory, to collect the monster he had requested from the doctor.  A nine foot tall beast, designed to exhibit pain and suffering amongst those it crosses.  A towering monster the doctor calls the Venal Anatomica…


DLS Review:
Following on from the previous instalment, ‘Tortured Souls - Six Destinies - Book 4’ (2001),  this next short in the ‘Six Destinies’ storyline slowly brings together the two distinct threads – the passionate lovers at Diamanda Street and Talisac’s monstrous offering to the triumvirate of Generals.  However, although the short shows the converging of the two separate storyline threads, not much else actually happens in the short other than a somewhat tame following on from the previous instalment.

Venal Anatomica is only very briefly described, Barker’s descriptions of the doctor’s creation not altogether dissimilar from that of his earlier Cenobites.  Indeed, the Venal Anatomica appears to be somewhat in tune to the resurrecting principles from Barker’s novella ‘The Hellbound Heart’ (1986) – showing signs of draining corpses of all moisture and lifeblood in order to breathe life.

Other than the introduction of the Doctor’s latest creation, the crowd drawing lovemaking at Diamanda Street, and the unremarkable predictions detailing the fall of Primordium – nothing else happens in this largely uneventful penultimate instalment.

It does feel like it’s merely the last connecting-piece to bring the final instalment into play.  Anticipation and a quivering suspense are certainly achieved, if little else.  And the passionate lovemaking of the two Supplicants – Kreiger and Lucidique – are bringing up a veritable barrage of questions which will no doubt be addressed in the final instalment.  But on its own, this fifth instalment lacks much of the dark individualism that has been present in all of the other ‘Tortured Souls’ shorts.

The short spans across the entire width of one side of the fold-out sheet that comes included with the ‘Tortured Souls’ action figure.


© DLS Reviews

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