Hellraiser is a fantastic series with great lore and characters. The visual style is what’s most appealing about the franchise with gruesome deaths and interesting and horrific character designs. Clive Barker is one of my favorite horror authors and Hellraiser is right up there among my favorites. The Dark Watch takes a different approach to the series; rather than a bunch of mini-stories The Dark Watch consists of 12 issues that have an overarching story.
The Dark Watch is about the war on Hell amongst itself. The Lemarchand puzzles play a smaller role in this series as we concentrate on characters and story which is a good chance of pace over the 90’s Hellraiser comics. A ragtag team of cons and criminals just so happen to meet their goal of collecting every Lemarchand puzzle box in existence to prevent Hell’s Cenobites from recruiting more legionaries which they think are to start a war with Earth. Pushing aside the smaller character backstories, the war isn’t supposed to be waged on Earth but with another circle of Hell. Leviathan has a larger grand plan than what the Cenobites think, and of course, there’s lots of gore to help tell this tale.
I felt 12 issues were just enough to the story and it had a satisfying ending. The characters were great and everything made complete sense with just enough mystery to continue on to the next issue. With three sides that the comic switched between, it kept the story well-paced and always on its toes rather than trodding through endless amounts of boring dialog. The art is fantastic and the death and torture scenes are incredible and not usually seen in mainstream comics.
If you are a fan of Hellraiser, didn’t like the 90’s comics, or love horror in general then The Dark Watch is an excellent series for you. Knowing some backstory on the Hellraiser lore and mythos will help me understand the story more as it doesn’t explain most of what goes on in this universe. With that said, dive in and enjoy this gory ride.