First published back in October of 2009, Clive Barker’s standalone comic ‘Seduth’ was released through IDW and presented in 3-D format with accompanying cardboard 3-D glasses.  The comic saw Barker teaming up with artist Gabriel Rodriguez and colourist Jay Fotos, along with co-writer Chris Monfette and 3-D art expert Ray Zone.

DLS Synopsis:
At the grand opening of the Prism Hotel in Vegas, Harold Engle - the award-winning architect of the elaborate hotel – is hosting the high-class charity auction to mark the occasion.  However, all eyes are on Lot 225 – a flawless thirty-four carat diamond discovered on the site of Engle’s next project in South Africa.

But as the event got underway, Engle noticed that there was something in the diamond that called to him.  Something dark that knew his called.  It spoke to him.  Consumed his very being.  Harold Engle knew the diamond was meant for him.  It after all had found him.  Not the other way around.  And now he must have it.

That night he breaks into the lot winner’s room and takes what was always meant for him.  With knife and diamond he takes his first victim right there in the hotel room.  It would prove to be the first murder of many.

With the diamond now in his possession Engle had immediately flown back home.  But his wife had gotten the wrong idea about the diamond.  She thought it was a gift.  An expensive declaration of love meant for her.  And so she had taken it away to a jeweller to be set.  An assumption of devotion that would prove to cost Engle’s wife her life.

However death does not end there.  For inside the diamond is darkness absolute.  A blackness waiting to be released.  A plague that once loose, would kill countless more.  It was the jeweller who eventually broke open the diamond.  The mistake would mean his death.  And with the darkness free at last, it would consume the world.  For the plague that is Seduth demanded so much more…

DLS Review:
Being the first all-new comic created by Barker in over two decades ‘Seduth’ was one long-awaited return to the format for the highly-revered writer.  Of course over those two decades a handful of Clive Barker stories have been adapted into comics and graphic novels.  IDW themselves have released both ‘The Thief Of Always’ (2005) and ‘The Great And Secret Show’ (2006 - 2007).  But with ‘Seduth’ we’re offered something completely new.  And IDW have gone all-out to ensure that it achieves just that.

The comic includes eight pages (after the main story) containing exact replicas of the notes that Clive Barker provided to co-writer Chris Monfette for the creation of the ‘Seduth’ story.  And to be fair to Monfette, there’s not a huge amount to go on there!  The notes are more like loose sketches, providing a brief high-level vision of the ethos behind the story.  To quote Monfette himself “Foolishly, I had expected a story-manageable, straightforward, perhaps a bit messy-and what I received was a five-dimensional jigsaw, the likes of which could only ever come from the mind of Clive Barker, my friend, whose head and heart, I believe, are one and the same.”

However, from the seed planted through Barker’s sketchy notes, Monfette has gone on to write a story that truly encapsulates the very essence of nihilism which Barker had set out achieve.  The story is almost lyrical in the way it’s told, with passages scribbled on notepaper by Engle accompanying the first-person-perspective narration-heavy telling of the story.

The unleashing of the plague is quick to get underway, and again weirdly poetic in how it’s announced upon the world.  Like with so much of Barker’s work, there appears to be a strange cosmic balance at play – one which dictates how the pieces will fall.  A greater understanding is alluded to, but the disjointed fragments are just that little too vague for the reader to fully piece together.

Nevertheless, the main thrust of the plot is clearly decipherable.  With the plague that is Seduth now free from its prison, humanity has been all but annihilated, leaving Engle and his son to roll the final dice and make a last and all-important choice.  Indeed, from an altogether apocalyptic backdrop, the story is flung into some weirdly surreal cosmic realms, with anti-religious imagery infiltrating the story to suggest a puzzling underlying commentary that again feels that little too far away for the reader to really appreciate.

What isn’t in doubt however is the incredible artwork that accompanies the story.  Through Gabriel Rodriguez’s artwork alone the reader can garner much of what’s transpiring.  It’s bold and striking, with an incredible array of intricate details and artistic guidance pushing the narrative onwards.

Furthermore the 3-D aspect adds a whole additional layer to the delivery.   Ray Zone has pulled the imagery out from the flat page – making it that far more impactful on the readers’ senses.  Objects are thrust outwards, shards of diamond flying towards your eye time and again, and everything single frame is given additional depth and an enhanced locale to it.

All in all ‘Seduth’ is one hell of a strange journey taking us from obsession to Armageddon and on to a surreal cosmic landscape where the very fabric of the world is ultimately woven.  It’s certainly an imaginative and mindboggling experience – but perhaps one that doesn’t necessarily glue together all that perfectly.  But it still works.  It’s dark and bleak and just that little bit fucked up…but as I said - it works.

The comic runs for a total of 24 pages with an additional 8 pages showcasing Clive Barker’s original notes for the story.

© DLS Reviews


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