Written by: Michael Nelson
Illustrated by: Jean Dzialowski
Trade: 128 pages
Publisher: Boom Studios
March 2008, $14.99
Collecting the opening arc of the new smash-hit series that is taking fandom by storm! Cy is an ordinary guy with a beautiful fiancee -- until his uncle's suicide changes his life forever. Consumed with discovering the motive behind his relative's sudden and painful death, he finds notes and scribblings about a nonsense word he doesn't recognize... Cthulhu. Obsessed, he seeks out answers to questions he should have never asked. A horrifying glimpse into a modern day Lovecraftian world filled with nightmares and excursions into Lovecraft's Dreamlands!
Surprisingly, despite my geekiness, I was a late bloomer when it came to all things Lovecraft and our lovely tentacled fellow. And when I mean late, I mean about a decade ago or so. It wasn't that I didn't know who either was, but less than I do now. Even still Cthulhu is still a bit new to me. I saw this in the library and figured why not.
I will say that I think bigger fans of Cthulhu may have liked it a bit better than I did. As a relative noob, it piqued my interest, but didn't quite hold me the way that I thought it would. Would it have helped if I knew a bit more, maybe, but it might have been nice to understand the Dreamlands a bit more.
The comic begins with Abdul Alhazred who will eventually write the Necromonicon. Alhazred’s prequel of sorts is short lived as we are thrust into the present where we meet a young Masters student at Miskatonic University named Cy. As he and his girlfriend Jordan sit at a cafe, Cy’s uncle Walt arrives, rants briefly, throws a bag on the table then proceeds to blow his brains out. As Cy looks into his uncle’s death, The Calling and more he finds himself in the Dreamlands, and his entire world begins to fall apart.
Things I loved: The differences in art was kind of nice. When we are in the real world, the art is your typical comic realism. bit in the Dreamlands, the art is far different. The coloring is brighter, more garish and the art in general feels like a throwback comic. Its a nice touch and it makes the Dreamlands all that more surreal.
I like how Cy is that ordinary Joe Blow kind of guy and he stumbles into something he shouldn't have. He’s just a guy, no superpowers, no preternatural insight into all that is happening. He’s normal. Actually, he’s kind of boring. And then everything hits the fan. I think that is one of the draws to Lovecraft in general. Its the horror, the madness that can happen to anyone. It could happen to you or me or your next door neighbor. Sometimes curiosity did kill the cat and satisfaction is not bringing him back.
Admittedly, the story overall is just a shade predictable and I was surprised how human even the supernatural players were. But I loved the knife/Jordan story-line even when I knew how it was going to turn out.
Things I didn't love so much: I am not sure that I would pick up another volume of the trades. I don’t have any one issue why I didn't immediately fall in love with the series, but I wasn't enraptured. The dialogue, especially at the beginning of the book is a bit painful. As in it reminded me of the bad dialogue and acting from the movie version of Dagon.
Buy or Borrow: Borrow. I think if you are a bigger fan of the Cthulhu mythos than you would like it much better than I did.
Part of: Cthulhu: the Fall.
Also Recommended: For Lovecrafty goodness I might suggest China Meiville’s Kraken, for horror comics Joe Hill’s Locke and Key series and of course anything by Mr. Lovecraft.
2.75 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks