The Nightbreed Retrospective: Part 4: Nightbreed Issue 4

Clive Barker’s Nightbreed Issue 4: See Midian Fall

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 spoilers regarding both the film and comic Nightbreed

The war for survival of the Nightbreed has begun again, as the Shere Neck police and lynch mob open fire on the denizens of Midian.  Decker unleashes his true self, and Lylesburg unleashes the berserkers.

As the final issue of the Nightbreed film adaptation, this issue is extremely light on story, and heavy on action.  Every page, every panel is jammed full of the chaos and destruction that has befallen Midian because of Boone.  The main focus of the issue is on Boone, Lori, Decker and the Sherriff.  Boone is busy fighting off the mob while also trying to rally the Nightbreed and save the children, while Lori is pursued by Decker.

The end of this issue is considerably different from that of the movie,  in this version of the story, Narcisse is beheaded by Decker in the fighting,  Lori kills herself and forces Boone (now Cabal) to change her into Nightbreed so they can be together forever, and Ashbury doesn’t resurrect Decker, he instead murders Sherriff Eigerman while still proclaiming his desire to destroy the Nightbreed, and the final page still involves the remaining Nightbreed hiding in a barn, awaiting Cabal’s return to lead them to their new home, and as this issue ends, it’s clear that Cabal and Lori will be back.

By far this is my favorite of the initial four issues of this series, as it manages to give the big Hollywood action ending with the infinite budget of the artist’s pen. The overall flow of the issue is better than the ending of the film, as there are no unanswered questions at the end of this issue, we know that Cabal and Lori will rejoin the Nightbreed in time, and that Ashbury will (more than likely) return to exact his vengeance upon them, and because this is a comic series, if you were reading these issues when they were initially released, you only had to wait a couple of months for the next issue to arrive.

The differences between these first four issues of Nightbreed and the film they are adapted from are clear from the beginning,  but it’s these differences that make the comic such a unique part of the Nightbreed mythology, expanding on characters and settings that were only briefly touched upon in the film.  More than likely this adaptation was based on an early draft of the Nightbreed screenplay, as there are scenes in these first four issues that don’t appear in the film, and vice versa.

One thought on “The Nightbreed Retrospective: Part 4: Nightbreed Issue 4

  1. This is good. Nice pictures and good comparisons. Your conclusion about the comic being adapted on earlier screenplays are not only correct but the entire film has a lot more to it since the resurfacing of a workprint cut. The images here already exist in a version that has getting interst going about a possible director’s cut, the Narcisse beheading and Lori’s sacrifice for instance as there are images of Ashbury killing Eigerman on the net. The possibility for a rediscovery might be closer now than ever, especially since the Cabal cut has been screened during the year and The Occupy Midian group on facebook want to create more awareness. Clive himself has even mentioned a possible television series being in talks to expand upon the Nightbreed mythos.

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