The world of the cenobites is beautiful and macabre, and issue #3 continues to show us its terrible wonder. The first tale of this issue spins a tragic yarn about a father trying desperately to keep his autistic (possibly, but probably) son from having fits by providing him with puzzles to solve. It’s obvious from the first panel where this story is headed, but it has enough substance to stay interesting. The puzzle box finds its way into many pairs of hands for myriad reasons, but none is so tragic as when it shows up in someone’s life as innocently as a parent’s love for their child. This story ends with a shocking surprise that at once makes you feel sick, and yet love the demented world of Hellraiser.
The second story is a vignette of psychosis. The puzzle box has many ways to bring about hell on earth, and one is through the destruction of the mind of he or she who opened it. Whispers in the shadows, coming from the lips of a cenobite, can drive anyone insane. Several times in Hellraiser lore we see someone kill the person they love. so manipulated by the hell they’ve opened, their delusions and torment mingle until they no longer know what is real. Hopefully reading this series isn’t going to end up creating delusions in the minds of those who read it!
The third part of of Pinhead’s little adventure sees him trying to escape the inferno that has charred his mortal shell. Vengeance drives him through the flames as he won’t rest until he retrieves his precious pins. The rare moments we get to see of Pinhead’s psyche are always a treat. He, as with all cenobites, are not unthinking husks. They are conscious beings, perhaps driven insane by their experiences, but with drives and desires all their own. That is what makes them such compelling characters. Eventually Pinhead is able to retreat to the sewer, and pick up on the trail of those who dared to cross him. He stumbles, literally, onto their meeting with the person who tasked them with the theft, a Cardinal. It should be interesting to see the depravity and sadism to about to come light as Pinhead confronts the Cardinal, takes his revenge, and gets back his pins.
Issue #3 continues to entertain by combining interesting stories with varied, story-enhancing artwork. If I had to point to one thing I wish was different about Hellraiser: Bestiary it would be that at the halfway point of the series, I already wish there were more than six issues in the run. If you’re a fan of Hellraiser, you should be reading this book!