Cthulhu Tales #11
Written by Chris Sequeira, Christine Boylan, Michael Alan Nelson, Shane Oakley
Art by Milton Sobreiro, Roger Langridge
Price: $3.99; Release date: February 4, 2009
BOOM! Studios brings us another four wonderful tentacle-filled tales from the universe of H.P. Lovecraft, exploring everything from corporate climbers to brain surgery patients to trays full of tasty, terror-filled bite-sized morsels.
Incorporation follows Glenda, an up-and-coming accountant in a multinational firm Wilcox-Gamme. We get an inkling of what’s to come right on the first page as Glenda finds the now ubiquitous Cthulhu statue in her new desk, and that’s precisely the weakness in the story of Incorporation. The story and dialogue are formulaic, the characters two-dimensional. Glenda is your typical ball-busting corporate climber, while her co-workers are portrayed as weak-willed sycophants who could never keep up with her. She begins to have visions of evil in her spreadsheets and while I won’t intentionally ruin the surprise ending for you, I think it’s obvious that there’s little surprise in here at all. Even the art of W. Chewie Chan is stilted and uninspiring. The concept of the multi-national corporation as evil cult is simply played out, and doesn’t bring anything new to the Cthulhu table.
RATING: 2 out of 5 tentacles
We all know that Cthulhu will bring about the end of the world, but what if mankind beats it to the punch? The Invention tells the story of three nuclear war survivors squatting over what’s left of the Hollywood Hills. Realizing that there is no hope left, they indulge the Left-Handed Path with the Necronomicon to bring about the end of the world. What’s fascinating about the story is how it plays with the conventions of Cthulhu lore. The characters intentionally summon Cthulhu for the purpose of “destroying destruction.” The dialogue is carefully crafted so that the discussions surrounding these horrific events have an everyday plainness about them. Christine Boylan uses a unique story telling structure that sets the universe itself, even Cthulhu, as an invention of humanity. The artwork of Milton Sobreiro, with its yellow tinting and heavy black lines, creates an almost palpable sense of toxicity. You can feel the characters desperation as they huddle around a campfire that refuses to light. The idea of simply using Cthulhu as a method for enacting a mercy killing against the whole world made the story itself a very compelling read.
RATING: 4 out of 5 tentacles
The problem with Where Am I Part 2 is that I haven’t read Part 1, so I’m forced to judge the sequel story without ever having appraised the first. Having said that, Where am I? Part 2 is a muddled mess. The storytelling is clumsy, off-kilter, and fails to adequately draw the reader in. We see a brain surgery patient awakened by doctors rambling Lovecraftesque imagery. When the scientists realize he’s gone mad they simply decide to kill him for almost no real reason, but the patient escapes. This was where the story lost much of its momentum, because the narrative jump here was so quick that the reader finds themselves lost. The characters are listless and flat, and it’s hard to connect with any of them. The cartoony art by Aritz doesn’t help either.
All in all, Where Am I? Part 2 was an extremely underwhelming read, and a poor inclusion in the Cthulhu Tales.
RATING: 1 out of 5 tentacles
Sheer genius is the only way to describe the Selections from H.P. Lovecraft Tenure as a Chocolate Sampler Copywriter. You’ll never look at a box of chocolates the same way again. In particular Caramel Chew, which is apparently a portal to the hell world of the Caramel God-King.
RATING: 5 tentacles out of 5
Cthulhu Tales #11 is available as part of the graphic novel collection Cthulhu Tales Vol 4: Darkness Beyond.