Yeah, I know, it wasn’t but a short time ago that we delved into some Clive Barker stories. And of course, I love everything to do with the Cenobytes and the horrors they show us. But I couldn’t pass up going through some thoughts on something from a totally different coin (is this a weird reference to nothing that would take pages for me to explain the thought and I have now made it worse by going through the aside?).
Anyway, as I was digging my way through the Hellraiser stories, I picked up something that followed similar themes while being something completely different. I am talking about Clive Barker’s Next Testament (Boom! Studios 2014). Yeah, this series has religious undertones but as always with Barker’s work, it spins it, twists it, and turns it into something far more horrific.
In simple terms (long story short) a guy is chasing the idea of god and ends up finding a tomb in the desert. Inside the tomb was a god like being that had been imprisoned. The being goes by the name Wyck and claims to be the God of the Old Testament. He is part of the Trinity but doesn’t give us anything to identify who the other two members are other than aspects of himself. As is to be expected, horrific moments ensue as we come across a vengeful being that exerts its will on the populace because, it can.
The story is great. It’s horrific and gruesome, basically what you expect. But it’s the underlying thoughts that really get me. See, it plays at our fears that we are all really just the butt of some cosmic joke. The fear that the God we worship (no matter which god that may be) is really something of a narcissist with little thought of us because by comparison we are less than insects and unworthy of consideration. Our prayers and thoughts are for naught simply because nothing is going to break through the whims of the creature we deign to worship. When we reach the end, did anything even matter?
This stretches back to even the fears that fueled the work of Lovecraft and others like him. We are so caught up in our own perceptions and thoughts of how the world works that we forget that we are simply specks on a giant rock. And when we are reminded of this, our entire world crashes around us.
Kinda makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
With this one, I found that there is something markedly different from the Hellraiser series. As you dig further and further into the Hellraiser series, you find that there is never really a happy ending. There isn’t really an ending to speak of. Instead you are shown more and more suffering. As we might see in philosophical interpretations of hell, there are many layers and through each layer is a new level of suffering and pain. In the Next Testament, we are shown hope.
That’s the best way I can describe it. At the end of the third volume, even after all the hell the world has suffered, there is a spark. Life will go on. Even after all the pain, there can be moments where happiness will fill your life.
I like it. There are so many different facets to all of us. We may never have a chance to see the different ways that the world fills our perceptions. But every now and then we run across a shade of something that gives us a whole new incite. Every story is a chance to discover something new percolating in the mind of the person who shares it. Sometimes your filled with dread and other times, you find a spark that gives you more.
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.