Clive Barker’s Next Testament by Mark Alan Miller
Earthling Publications (April 2017)
$45 gift edition; $100 deluxe edition; $125 lettered edition
Reviewed by Dave Simms
Is there a God? If there is, what is He like? Why would He put up with the hell on earth for the past millennia, and what would He think of what humanity has become? Clive Barker and Mark Miller have posited the answer to these questions in a fascinating graphic novel series Next Testament. And while Miller has written the novelization, Barker’s touch is everywhere here. Of course, he drew the artwork both for the cover and interior, which is typically disturbing and splendid. Also—whenever the iconic F. Paul Wilson takes time out to write an introduction, you know you’re in for a special experience.
The story is horrific, bombastic, and bleeds weird imagination all over the place. In the scorching desolation of the desert, billionaire Julian Desmond seeks something, something he doesn’t quite understand. He’s driven to uncover a truth that has eluded our species for ages. He digs up a strange structure in the middle of nowhere, falling into a darkness which feels like nothing he’s ever imagined.
It is there that he meets Wick, a man covered in myriad colors, a true illustrated man, but not in tattoos, just hues which stretch the limits of the human eye. He explains to Julian his true nature: He is God, the one true being who sculpted the world and needs to witness what has happened to His creation. But why did He need to be released from this structure, and who locked Him up?
Once Wick is introduced to the modern world, undoubtedly, He’s pissed. He’s enraged. Yet what He does is something which is Old Testament to the nth degree—and more. Julian’s son Tristan and his fiancé Elspeth seem to be the only possible humans who may have a chance a limiting, or stopping, well, God.
Miller and Barker’s creation is brutal, much like classic Books of Blood or Hellraiser fashion. Next Testament is bloody, unflinching, and unhinged in its free-flowing swath of hell-on-earth journey.
This is classic hardcore horror with a philosophic bend to it which will draw Barker’s faithful but introduce many more to the talents of Miller.
A welcome, and recommended, return to the horror that readers have been craving.