The Nightbreed Retrospective: Part 5: Nightbreed Issue 5

Clive Barker’s Nightbreed Issue 5: Blasphemers-Prelude: Scattering seeds of Damnation

Cover Price:  $2.25

Written by: Daniel Chichester

Artist: Jackson Guice and Alfred Ramirez

Letters by: John Workman

Editor: Gregory Wright

Assistant Editor: Suzanne Dell ‘Orto

Exectutive Editor, Epic Comics: Carl Potts

Adapted from the screenplay by Clive Barker.

Following the destruction of their home Midian, the Nightbreed are on the run, forced into hiding among the human world while their savior, Cabal seeks out their new home, just as Baphomet prophesied.

Issue five is the first all new Nightbreed story of the ongoing series, and the change from screenplay adaptation to fresh story is readily apparent, both in the art style and in the writing itself.  Blasphemers introduces us to six new creatures who, like the rest of the Nightbreed, are on the run, however as this arc’s title implies, this group isn’t so keen to follow Baphomet’s commandments.

The change in art style is noticeable but not distracting, and actually enhances this first new issue, as Guice and Ramirez’s work has much more detail in the characters faces, and considering the majority of the characters in this series are monsters, details are important, and the distinct nature of the Blasphemers is wonderful.

We learn the names of the group, but only get a good look at about four of them;

Oral looks like a human, but as we see in this issue (and on the cover of issue nine) his powers involve using just about anything for teeth.

Mulciber is the purple bird-faced creature from the cover, and seemingly the leader of this motley crew of renegade breed.

Piglet looks like…well, an anthropomorphic pig.

Aello is the “Female” of the group and as of this issue her only apparent power is that she has wings.

Dagon and Fachen are addressed by other characters in this issue, but aren’t given any direct screen time at this point, however, at a guess from the cover and from the few brief scenes where he’s on panel, I assume that Dagon is the green creature in the brown cloak on the cover.

From a writing perspective,  Chichester handles recapping the previous four issues events, and introducing the readers to the new breed with ease, using an amazingly illustrated double page spread to show the destruction of Midian, all while using Baphomet’s head as a narrator.

This issue is critical to the success of the rest of the series, as this is our first steps into a broader Nightbreed world, seemingly without the hand of Barker guiding it, and to the credit of the author and the artists, they not only made the difficult transition from one writing/artist team to another flawlessly, but the transition is near seamless,  giving us fourteen pages of introduction to our new characters, then leaping into the recap while also addressing the question of “Who was given what pieces of Baphomet?”, and while this question may not necessarily  be that important, it’s nice to see the another new ‘breed character introduce caring for the head of Baphomet, even if she isn’t given a name at this time.

My biggest surprise with this issue is the frontal nudity and “adult” language that suddenly pops up, considering how there was almost no nudity at all in the first four issues, aside from a very brief shot of Rachel when she is in her mist/spirit form in issue three and the “side-nude” shots of Boone and Lori in the prison sequence of that same issue, and the “Asshole” appearing once in issue four.  If anything, I appreciate that Chichester and the artists were willing to make this jump forward, considering the source material of the series, it doesn’t make sense to produce a “PG” version of Nightbreed, even if it is in comic form.

 

Blasphemers-Prelude: Scattering seeds of Damnation is the first steps into what promises to be an excellent post film story arc.

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