For a man who has so many comic books on the market dedicated to his work, Clive Barker has never really created something original for the medium until he came out with NEXT TESTAMENT. It’s great to see that for his first time out, he’s tackling big topics, like the nature of God and miracles. Barker never does things halfheartedly, after all.
Someone claiming to be God, who calls himself Wick, has been set free by an archaeologist named Julian Desmond, and together they are teaching humanity how they got everything wrong and what is really important to God. Stuck in the middle of this mess is Julian’s daughter, Elspeth, and her husband Tristan. They’re trying to make sense of all of the lunacy and trying to survive at the same time.
In this issue, Wick has tired of America and has gone in search of other countries, where people might have gotten his message right. He finds France … and a giant orgy under the EiffelTower. So naturally, he’s got to jump right in, right?
Meanwhile, Tristan and Elspeth are having troubles, as per usual. They just can’t get a break. With the world falling to pieces, they’ve probably suffered more than most people who managed to survive. At first, it seems like they’re getting lucky with Sue Ellen, a pious woman with a Good Samaritan streak running through her. Unfortunately, almost right away, the trio meets up with a killer who intends to fuck them all, including Tristan.
Mark Miller, who co-wrote this book with Barker, has been great so far with his depictions of violence and Wick’s truth. It has been interesting to see his lack of regard for human life, but it’s also interesting to see his excitement in such a sexual atmosphere, like an orgy. Granted, one cannot separate horror and sex when it comes to Barker, but the old boy still has a few tricks up his sleeve. Wick, after trying to drown himself in the pleasures of the flesh actually gets kind of bored with the whole thing. He thinks it’s a great idea, but in practice? He all but yawns.
Or maybe it’s because he’s distracted. Before, it seems like he isn’t very aware of Tristan and Elspeth, but now? In some weird way, he seems concerned about their intentions. That doesn’t sound like something God would be worried about, does it? Remember, though, he only CLAIMS to be God. In the past, it would seem that maybe, just maybe, he was a creature that people originally based the idea of God on, that maybe he was the Old Testament God, and not the one that came after. But now, even that looks questionable. No easy answers here, at least not yet. That’s a good sign.
Artist Haemi Jang can definitely keep up with such an epic, mind-sprawling story. His depiction of Wick is unlike any other God figure in fiction. Multi-colored, rapturous and even in moments of anger, he seems amused. And then, of course, there are the orgy scenes. Wow. No one could have done a better job.
There are only four issues left. You’d better get on board before this series ends. It’s shit you need to read.
NEXT TESTAMENT #8
Written by Clive Barker and Mark Miller
Illustrated by Haemi Jang
Published by Boom! Studios