The Nightbreed Retrospective: Part 2: Nightbreed Issue 2

Scan of my signed copy of Issue 2

Clive Barker’s Nightbreed Issue 2: Down Among the Dead Men

Cover Price:  $1.95

Written by: Alan Grant and John Wagner

Artist: Jim Baikie

Letters by: Michael Heisler

Editor: Gregory Wright

Consulting Editor: Daniel Chichester

Exectutive Editor, Epic Comics: Carl Potts

Adapted from the screenplay by Clive Barker.

*Warning: The following review contains major plot spoilers pertaining to both the comic and film Nightbreed*

Aaron Boone is dead,  and Lori has been brought in for questioning by the police and Decker about Boone’s involvement with the murders, but suddenly, someone or something steals Boone’s body.

Lori heads out to Shere Neck on her way to finding Midian and meets Sheryl Ann, a local woman who offers to accompany Lori out to Midian. Upon arriving in Midian, Lori is introduced to the Nightbreed when she saves the child Babette.  Lylesburg, leader of Midian warns Lori that Boone ‘breed now, and that she must leave, or risk dire consequences.

When Lori returns to her car to find Sheryl missing, she stumbles upon her new friend’s butchered body and comes face to face with the masked maniac who reveals himself to be Dr. Philip Decker.  When Boone and Narcisse come to Lori’s rescue, Decker escapes and sets in motion a plan that will lead the Nightbreed into direct conflict with the human world they seek to hide from.

Because this series started out as a four issue adaptation of the film, issue two is the “Info dump”, where we find out who Decker really is, a bit of the history of the Nightbreed, and a glimpse into the subterranean world of Midian.  Once again, the artwork in this issue is suberb, and the writing takes center stage this time, helping to drive home characters motivations and feelings that are sadly lost in the translation to film.

The use of color in this issue stands out, such as the scene where Babette transforms back into her human body, the transition is accented by the three panels flowing from blue, to violet, to red.  The colors within Midian itself are all very muted, mostly dark blues and grays, and this helps to set the tone of the location, giving it a very cold, unnatural feeling vs. the more vibrantly colored Shere Neck.

Unfortunately because the writers are cramming a 102 minute movie into a four issue adaptation, this issue moves at a breakneck speed, and the book suffers a little because of this. Had the adaptation been given six issues instead of four, the writers and artist may have been given a chance to stretch their wings a bit more, but as this issue ends, it’s clear that the creators are trying to keep things moving along, but it feels too rushed.  Issue two isn’t bad, the writing is good as is the art, but the pacing throws things and left me a little disappointed.

2 thoughts on “The Nightbreed Retrospective: Part 2: Nightbreed Issue 2

  1. Clive Barker….what can I say. The man is a pure genius when it comes to torture. I really like what you are doing here. Not only reviewing the movie, but also the graphic novel. (Yes people, it’s a graphic novel, not a comic book…and there is a huge difference). It allows your readers to see and experience where the movie came from.

  2. Thanks. Technically this isn’t a graphic novel, it is a comic book as it was originally released in single issues (25 total). I don’t know if Epic ever released a trade paperback (or hardcover) of this series, but considering Boom!Studios is re-releasing a trade of the old Epic Hellraiser books maybe we’ll get lucky and Nightbreed will get the same treatment.

    And honestly, the “Graphic Novel” vs “Comic Book” debate is really rather pointless as they essentially describe the exact same thing. There’s no inherent difference between “Batman” and “Nightbreed” other than content and the general populace’s perspective on them.

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