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Fall of Cthulhu #6

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2007
By: Matthew McLean



"Sysyphyx"

Writer: Michael Alan Nelson
Artist(s): Greg Scott, Joel Seguin (c)


Editor’s Note: The sixth issue of BOOM!’s Fall of Cthulhu arrives in stores this Wednesday, September 26.

With its cover of a century old sailboat trapped in artic ice below the Aurora Borealis, this latest issue of Fall of Cthulhu is evocative of some of the oldest and dearest Lovecraft tales. Unfortunately, while the book may be sound in idea, its writing and art fall short in several critical areas.

Picking up almost immediately after the tragic events of issue #5, this most recent addition starts with an artic expedition trapped in a whiteout storm with malfunctioning navigational equipment. Lost, isolated and in a hostile environment, the team behind this book couldn’t have picked a better physical environment to represent some of the strongest themes of Lovecraft’s work. The situation is detailed quite well by the conversation of the expedition’s men and their leader, Horace. These men are professionals, so fear doesn’t crop up for them in this situation, mostly just annoyance. The group is afraid of something, though; their client. Connor, an employee of Mr. Arkham, has hired the group to take him out and locate an old vessel named “The Cormorant”. Unfortunately, the story begins to stumble here as the fear the crew has of Connor comes across as rather unbelievable. One crew member describes him as having “shark eyes, like he’s dead inside.” However the art doesn’t convey this; Connor looks more like a young academic with a sparse beard. As a result, his threats come off as annoyingly empty and the reader is forced to wonder why Horace doesn’t follow through with his threat to lose this young man in the snow.

The story picks up again briefly when the expedition finds “The Cormorant” trapped in the ice. While the crew isn’t sure what they’ve found, the do discover that the previous crew of the ship sailed to this solitary bit of nowhere in order to sink something to the bottom of the ocean. This excellent piece of foreshadowing is nearly eclipsed by the presence of Connor, though, who continues to make juvenile sounding threats. Which, given that he is surrounded by seasoned professionals, come across as about as convincing as Yale graduate making threats at a group of longshoremen.

The book is further hampered by a switch at the end, which leaves what might have been the most interesting portion of the story unexplored. As this is an advanced review, I won’t detail it here, but the last six pages of the story pretty much put the good of the previous ones out the window. Connor continues to be annoying, while the art doesn’t hold up its end for the reveal at the end of story. What is meant to be the story’s climax instead comes off as unintentionally funny.

While this may be an introduction story of the creature called Sysyphyx, Fall of Cthulhu would have been better off leaving the origin of it cloaked in shadow. The series continues to be an interesting exploration of new territories of Lovecraft’s work, but this issue is one readers should leave alone.

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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