First published back in April of 1991, issue nine of Epic Comics’ serial adaptation of Clive Barker’s ‘Nightbreed’ sported the subtitle ‘The Blasphemers Part Four – The Chicken Coop Of The Soul’.

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 these merely continued on with the Nightbreed legacy – creating a whole new spin-off storyline that would eventually bring in aspects from some of Barker’s other work.

DLS Synopsis:
With Allen Ritegrieg leading Mulciber’s band of blasphemers, their sudden attack upon Narcisse and Nickneven was nothing short of explosive.  As flames tore upwards and the sounds of high-impact weaponry reverberated around the dense woodland, Boone and his companions were made instantly aware of the blasphemers’ arrival at Nickneven’s woodland home.

The assault was unrelenting.  The firepower that Ritegrieg and Mulciber’s gang wielded would drive Boone and his companions into the nearby chicken coop for what little cover it offered.  But their reprieve from the onslaught would only be short lived.  However, whilst they took cover, they decided to break the eggs of Nickneven’s chickens and reveal the darkest secrets from each of their pasts for all to see.

Through sharing their deepest of secrets, Boone’s companions are able to come closer together.  A tighter bond is forming, and within it comes a far greater strength than the sum of its parts…

DLS Review:
Once again faith in Daniel Chichester’s follow-on Nightbreed story is now fully restored.  Following the veritable deadwood that was ‘Nightbreed – Issue Eight’ (1991), Chichester has produced a comic that pulls a whole host of plot-swaying elements into one damn action-rich read.  Indeed, this instalment feels in complete contrast to the reasonably eventless issue that preceded it (thank Baphomet for that).

Okay, so other than the bitter conflict that’s raging between these two groups of Nightbreed, the rest of the story on offer in this instalment is incredibly hokey.  The whole ‘egg breaking in the coop’ malarkey is eye-rollingly contrived.  Nevertheless, it offers the reader a previously unseen glimpse into the backstories of the main characters that we’re following.

How Kinski came to have his moon-shaped head, why Narcisse got so depressed, the guilt that rests on Guido’s shoulders, and the possibilities that Lori dismissed in order to follow her music.  Alongside this, the reader is also shown what made Ritegrig become the hardened power-hungry man he is now.  The insight that the reader is offered in this comic alone makes it pretty much essential ‘Nightbreed’ reading.

That said, the whole Ritegrig backstory is pretty weird.  The story jumps back to when Ritegrig was a young boy, but for some obscure reason the artists still show him with what appears to be an oddly disproportionate adult head.  In fact the two pages that show this backstory are pretty freaky because of the strange caricature look given to Ritegrig.

But all in all you can’t get away from the fact that this ninth instalment has put the series back on track.  It includes some key plot-swaying elements, reveals more about the handful of principal characters we’re following, and somehow packs it all in to the space of just this one instalment.

The comic runs for a total of 28 pages.

© DLS Reviews

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