Friday, August 27, 2010

Cops With Guns

Neonomicon #1, by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

This is a sequel to The Courtyard, an odd comic that came out a couple of years ago. This one begins with two FBI agents going to a secure psychiatric institution to interview Sax, once one of their colleagues. He was the main character in The Courtyard, and was locked up after mutilating and beheading a number of unfortunates. The agents are investigating some similar slayings and hope that Sax will assist them, but he answers their questions with incoherent gibberish. Those of us whose reading interests run to the more outré recognise some of the words the prisoner uses: "Cthulhu", "R'lyeh", "Hastur", "Y'Golonac". We are in the land of H.P. Lovecraft pastiche.

The agents get nowhere and leave the asylum. This much appeared previously in a slightly unsatisfying preview of this issue. The thing really ramps up in the second half, where the agents join some others who are backtracking over Sax's investigations, trying to see what drove him over the edge and what linked him to the other killings. It is in some ways all very cop, with lots of undercover agents running around chasing suspects and waving guns, but the episode ends with a chilling rush of horror. This episode feels a bit like an adaptation of a Call of Cthulhu gaming session, with the ending seeing the players flunk their sanity rolls bigtime.

The Courtyard was one of the most striking pieces of Lovecraft-inspired writing I had seen in ages. This is shaping up to be a worthy successor. I am increasingly fond of Jacen Burrows' art. Before I thought it a bit basic but nevertheless functional. On reflection, though, this kind of competent un-flashy work is a lot more effective than the kind of lurid psychedelia that Lovecraftiana can sometimes attract.

There are oddities here, though. The title is set in something a bit different to the world we live in, with domes of some sort appearing to be in place over cities for reasons that are not explained. I wait to see where that goes.

Alan Moore and H.P. Lovecraft are very different writers, but this melding of their concerns works surprisingly well. Lovecraft's vision of hidden powers greater than humanity can comprehend meshes well with Moore's own occult obsessions. And Moore manages to bring his own preoccupations to the table. One of the FBI agents is a sex addict, an intrusion of his recurring idea that human sexuality is unfathomable and uncontrollable. That it should be the female agent who is stricken with this comedic ailment chimes with some other of his recurring themes.

image source

An inuit panda production

1 comment:

Reader's Voice said...

If this is you upping your game...