To many in the world, God is just a medieval relic. To those people God is a fable or something for children to dream up. Not Clive Barker, the man behind a new Boom! Studios comic entitled Next Testament. Barker takes on cowriter duties on this one with some resoundingly disturbing ideas afoot, but is it good?
Clive Barker’s Next Testament #1 (of 12) (BOOM! Studios)
This twelve part series opens with a middle aged man paying to have people excavate an area in an unknown location due to a dream he had. In a fit he uncovers an ancient pyramidic structure which contains, well, God. A side story takes place focusing on the man’s soon to be wed son who, for unknown reasons, knows something bad is going to happen to him or his father. He’s trying to uncover what his father is up to and it doesn’t look good.
How very storybook of you.
Usually Clive Barker stories are adapted from his work, but here we’re getting it straight from the horse’s mouth. With help from Mark Miller he’s crafting a pretty ambitious tale. In a world where God is largely dead imagine if something claiming to be God was awakened. Think of all the questions we would have. Why was God asleep? Why did he create us? Is he pissed about what we did? What faith is he from? Judging by this issue it’s not entirely clear if God is Christian, Hindu or what, but it there’s some strong elements of ancient Egyptian descent. Plus he doesn’t look or talk like anything we’ve seen before.
Now they’ll believe!
The art by Haemi Jang has a very detailed and realistic tone to it. It’s also wrapped in dark ink work that gives it a horror feel I’m sure Barker wanted. That said it’s not very overt or anything like most horror comics go for these days.
And that’s probably the most surprising thing about this comic. It’s not scary, but the undertones are extremely frightening, more so than any killer with a knife or gore splatter material we’ve come to expect from the genre. There’s something deeper afoot here and if Barker continues along these lines we could have something truly disturbing on our hands. That said, anyone expecting a by the books horror comic are going to be disappointed.
Yeah that’s crazy town right there
- Great concept for a miniseries
- Fascinating God design
- Confused on what tone it’s going for
- Not sold on what the art is going for…yet
So why didn’t I give it a 9 or a 10? Mainly because the tone isn’t completely obvious yet. It spends most of its time stuck in the head of a middle aged madman, but maybe he’s not so mad. It’s hard to gauge, and it’s hard to gauge what it’s going for, but the cliffhanger ending seems to suggest one.
Is It Good?
Yeah. A cool concept you’d probably not see in any other format. Comics allow a story like this to exist.