Writer: Michael Alan Nelson
Artist: Jean Dzialowski
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Suicide, a horrible thing for everyone involved, is usually a lonely event that takes place in the dark of night. Sure, you’ve got people who climb out onto ledges in the middle of the day, or call up friends after taking sleeping pills, but most of the time these are the perennial cries for help. People who believe they are at the end of their rope don’t want help and often make sure that they won’t be found for hours. So what would possess a man to commit suicide in public and in broad daylight? This is the mystery that has landed in the lap of Cy, the protagonist of the first issue of Fall of Cthulhu.
For Lovecraft fans who pick up this book, the first issue of Fall of Cthulhu covers familiar ground. Relatives, long not seen, return from foreign lands with strange ideas; decrepit old homes and strange artifacts appear in this first issue. It is all very reminiscent of The Call of Cthulhu in that much of the narrative is sewn together through the use of the notes of a deceased relative. However, much like the method of the relative’s demise, Fall of Cthulhu takes these old favorites and twists them in a new and interesting fashion.
Besides casting the setting of the book into a decidedly more modern age than any of Lovecraft’s stories, Fall of Cthulhu creates more three dimensional and emotional characters than the late author tended to do. Right from the onset, the protagonist and his fiancée deal with the repercussions of the suicide and experience many of the standard emotions that are the fallout of such an event: shock, regret, guilt, etc. In addition to making the characters believable (if not entirely likeable), it also provides motivation for Cy to begin looking into the events that led up to the death.
While very little of the book is out and out scary, there is a sense on impending dread, that something under the surface is building, or what Lovecraft would have called “latent horror.” There are a number of things that lend to this, and each is handled well by the Fall of Cthulhu creative team. The ramblings of madmen, cryptic academic notes, and an odd artifact that keeps popping up in all the wrong places. There is even a trip to Lovecraft’s much talked about but rarely seen Dreamlands, which will surely remind Grant Morrison fans of The Invisibles.
All of this is weaved together to make for an excellent exposition. Since this first issue manages to pull together most of the familiar elements of Lovecraftian tales, it certainly makes one wonder where the Fall of Cthulhu creative team will take the reader next.
If you liked this review, be sure to check out more of the author’s work at http://madbastard.hypersites.com.
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