While all the other geek sites out there are reviewing the new comics coming out from the big names, I thought I’d take a look at what some of the smaller publishers brought us today. And I thought I’d start with something of a curiosity. Next Testament from BOOM! is written by Mark Miller (a writer that needs no introduction to regular comic book readers) and Clive Barker. You may have heard of Mr. Barker. He’s the guy who wrote The Hellbound Heart which would go on to become Hellraiser. So what vision does this duo bring to us?
As Julian Demond sleeps, he has a visionary dream that wakes him. Telling his wife to go back to sleep, the sixty year old man wanders into the desert blindfolded. Following his “blind faith”, Julian comes to a small pyramid sticking out of the sand… just as his dream showed him. Only, the pyramid isn’t so small. He digs it out and finds a large pyramid with reliefs of an angelic being and a demonic being on either side. Smashing the structure open releases Wick, the Lord of Colors, into the world. Claiming to be God, Wick follows Julian back to his camp where he receives his sacrement. And that’s where things get really, well, Clive Barker-ish.
Miller and Barker manage to create an interesting tale that explores the madness of obsession and the truly horrifying nature of the divine. There are a lot of captions throughout the title, but are used to deliver Julian’s inner monologue of said madness. They show us a side plot as well involving Julian’s son and creating some added tension as he and his wife try to unravel the old man’s insanity. The being known as Wick is a bit less menacing than Pinhead, but that is part of what makes him more dangerous I believe.
Haemi Jang created the art, and as I see no colorist listed, I assume he did those too. He does a great job either way. From little smirks on Julian’s face to the awe the presence of Wick brings to him to the concern and disbelief of his son. The art really shines though on Wick. His face is always calm and emotionless, conveying that what this entity does is simply what it does. As for the colors, I at first felt that they were a little too washed out. But once the Lord of Colors enters the picture I understood why. The insignificant humans near this being almost seem black and white next to the brilliant swirl of colors covering Wick’s body.
Orginality: 5/5 – You can always expect something strange and unique from Barker. And working with Miller makes this title even more unique.
Story and Dialog: 4/5 – Very well plotted and excellent delivery on the dialog. I do wish Julian’s inner monologue was a bit more verbal to show his maddened obsession as he speaks to himself.
Art: 5/5 – Nice attention to detail throughout the whole issue.
Color: 4/5 – A bit washed out, but this plays into the story well. However, I think the colors should have been darker and then lightened when Wick comes into the story to truly display his glory.
Repeat Reading: 3/5 – Despite the high scores on everything else, this issue seems a bit of a novelty read – good for a single time through. That is not to say that it won’t become the beginning of a highly readable series.