The Weekly Round-Up #155 with DHP, Clone, Comeback, Glory, The Unwritten & More

Best Comic of the Week:

Dark Horse Presents #18

Written by Joshua Williamson, Carla Speed McNeil, Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas, Edgar Allan Poe, Richard Corben, Dara Naraghi, Phil Stanford, Peter Hogan, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Colin Lorimer, and Mike Richardson
Art by Victor Ibáñez, Carla Speed McNeil, Ulises Farinas, Richard Corben, Victor Santos, Patric Reynolds, Steve Parkhouse, Steve Lieber, Colin Lorimer, and Ron Chan

This issue of Dark Horse Presents is much stronger than some of the recent issues, as some new serials begin, some of the better ones continue or return, and we are given an excellent one-off memoir.

The book opens with a story about Captain Midnight, by Joshua Williamson and Victor Ibáñez.  A WWII plane comes flying out of the Bermuda Triangle, piloted by the Captain, who ends up on the deck of a US aircraft carrier.  It’s clear that he is lost in time.  What’s not clear is if this is a new character or one that has shown up before (the title loudly proclaims that he ‘returns’).  All I know is that I enjoyed this story, but I’m not familiar with this character.

From there, we get a new chapter of Finder, my now-favourite science fiction comic.  Jaegar is in a city he hasn’t been to before, where it appears that all the citizens suffer from something called Apex Sudden Death Syndrome.  Consequently, no one goes outside, and are instead represented by different types of holographic avatars.  This is pretty typical work from Carla Speed McNeil – it’s dense with ideas and characterization, and there is a general assumption that we already know what she’s talking about, even though these ideas are brand new.  I’m completely hooked on this serial.

After that comes ‘Gamma’, a new serial by Ulises Farias and Erick Freitas.  It’s a bizarre little story that starts off being about a ‘coward’ who hangs out a bar all day, where people pay $50 to punch him in the face.  Later, he’s asked to help a battered woman stand up to her husband, and suddenly this story is about people using holographic ‘monsters’ to fight each other.  Farias’s art has a bit of a Brandon Graham meets Moebius vibe to it, so I’m on board.

Richard Corben gives us another adaptation of an Edgar Allen Poe poem or short story, and as is always the case with these things, it’s lovely and odd.

One of the best pieces this month is Dara Naraghi’s memoir of growing up on the shore of the Caspian Sea in Iran.  It’s lovingly illustrated by Victor Santos, and very nicely evokes a lost time and place.  I really wish we’d see more things like this in anthologies and comics in general.

Resident Alien, which is an excellent series, returns this month with a strangely-paced story.  It opens with a dream shared between the alien doctor’s assistant and her grandfather (I think?), before we move back in time three years, and see the US military men who found the doctor’s spacecraft, as they investigate his arrival on Earth.  I’m not sure where this is leading, but I’m happy to see more of this story.

Alabaster returns, and City of Roses continues, but neither really grab my attention.  I feel the same about The Secret Order of the Teddy Bears, which is an all-ages story that is lacking the complexity of some of the other all-ages pieces that have run in this book (I’m thinking of Beasts of Burden, which is brilliant).

UXB, another on-going serial, continues to mystify me in its lack of narrative cohesion.  I really do not understand what is going on in this series.

Still, this is a very successful issue overall.

Other Notable Comics:

Clone #1

Written by David Schulner
Art by Juan Jose Ryp
And the Image hits just keep coming.  Clone is a new series (a mini-series, I assume, but it’s always hard to tell with Image) that touches on familiar story elements, but does it very effectively.

Luke Taylor’s wife is about to have his baby.  He’s still bitter about the fact that his own father abandoned him, which heightens the usual concerns new father’s have about being ready for things.  One morning, as he is getting ready for work, he finds a man who looks just like him quietly bleeding out on his kitchen floor.  This guy warns him that someone is after his wife.

This someone, who looks just like Luke and the guy in the kitchen, shows up at the hospital where the wife is getting a check-up, and takes off with her.

We figure out a little while before Luke does that we are dealing with a cloning story (admittedly, the title kind of tipped that off), and that ‘they’ are after Luke for reasons we don’t know.  There are some people ready to help him, and I’m sure we will get the back story in the next issue or so.

This is an effective opening, and the book falls into that ‘movie good’ category quite nicely.  Juan Jose Ryp’s art is dynamic and detailed in equal measures (although I still hate the weird effect he draws around any spot where a character hits something), and it helps propel the story along.  The clone story has not reached the ubiquity of the zombie or vampire story yet, but with books like Garrison andDancer touching on similar themes not that long ago, it does seem like there’s something going on.

Still, newcomer David Schulner has crafted a nice introduction here, and I’m curious to see where he takes it.

Comeback #1

Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Michael Walsh

Ed Brisson has impressed me on a few occasions with his excellent short crime stories in his self-published seriesMurder Book, which seems to come out about once a year (and which has featured this series’s artist, Michael Walsh).  Brisson writes some fantastically dark stories in that series, so I knew I’d be in for something mysterious in this, which to the best of my knowledge is his first mini-series.

Brisson plays things very close to the vest here.  I found that I learned more about the structure of this series from reading the ‘next issue’ blurb on the back cover than I did reading this first issue, but that’s okay, because Brisson and Walsh are masters of creating atmosphere.

The comic opens with two men knocking on the door of an older man, claiming they represent the hydro company.  In no time, they have forced their way into the home, and have abducted the man.  He is taken to an empty warehouse, where he is then exposed to a very bright light, which takes him some sixty days into the future.  The trip doesn’t work well for the man.

The reader slowly figures out that these men work for a company called RECONNECT (actually, the company doesn’t get named in the issue) that specializes in pulling people away from their imminent deaths.  This is not cheap – we see a new client pony up five million dollars to save his wife from a car accident.  Many of the mechanics of the operation are outlined here, but everything is kept a little bit obscure and oblique.  We do learn that one of the agents doesn’t want to keep working for this company, and it looks like someone is investigating them, but we don’t know a whole lot more than that.

There are a lot of mysteries introduced in this issue; perhaps a few too many, with no clear idea who the ‘hero’ of the story is going to be.  At the same time, I trust Brisson to pull this off.  Walsh’s art is very nice, in the Paul Azaceta/Michael Lark school.  The feel of this book is terrific, and I look forward to seeing where it goes next.

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Conqueror Worm

Adapted by Richard Corben

I will confess that I’ve never really loved Poe.  I’ve found his work to be a little overwrought, or maybe even a little pretentious.  I’ve tried a few times to really absorb his writing, and it seems that no matter how many times I’ve read ‘The Raven’, I’ve never paid attention to it right through the very end.

Richard Corben, however, I do like.  He’s always been a comics artist that has stood out for me as someone whose work I can immediately recognize, and I’ve appreciated his eye for the bizarre.  I’ve been enjoying his Poe adaptations in Dark Horse Presents lately, although I’ve often wondered about just how many liberties he’s been taking with the source material, as it’s always just seemed a little too weird, even for Poe.

With this one-shot which adapts one of Poe’s more famous poems, I feel like I finally have a handle on how Corben adapts things.  Basically, it seems that he takes Poe’s more bizarre poems, and then transplants them into the types of settings he most enjoys – the deserts of the Southwest.

In this book, he shows us what happens to a Colonel Mann, whose wife has just run off with his cousin (and a servant).  He kills them, and then has a strange encounter with some Aboriginal puppeteers, who invite him and the rest of his family to a puppet show.  The show itself is a grotesque business that looks to tell Mann’s story, complete with real guns and the prerequisite nude buxom women (a Corben specialty).  Oh yah, and there are some carnivorous worms.

The poem is reprinted on the last page of this comic, and while there is little in it to connect it to the surrealistic, dream-like narrative Corben has constructed from it, I will never be able to read it without thinking of this comic again.  I’d love to see Corben adapt some other writers in a similar vein.

Glory #30

Written by Joe Keatinge
Art by Roman Muradov and Ross Campbell

I love it when a comic throws you an unexpected curve.  Since relaunching this book, Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell have delivered an excellent set of issues that have an aging and diminished Glory preparing to fight against her father’s other-dimensional army of monsters.  This issue, however, opens with a story involving Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and Pablo Picasso.

The first three pages of this issue feature Jim, Glory’s old friend, recounting the tale from her days in Paris in the 20s.  These pages are drawn by Roman Muradov, in a simplified, cartoonish style.  After that, we’re back to the usual stuff, but the whole thing was very effective at changing the tone of the book, and illustrating just how long this character has been on Earth.

The rest of the issue involves Glory’s effort to recruit her sister, Nanaja, to help her in her battle with their father.  Since Glory and Nanaja don’t get along, this means they have to fight first, as people always have to in comics.  Ross Campbell doesn’t hold back in the fight scenes, which are vicious to a degree rarely seen in comics not published by Avatar Press.  It’s pretty gruesome.

Later, there are a couple more surprises in store for the reader, and ultimately Glory, as the series continues to move towards a huge family confrontation.  It’s great stuff, and Campbell’s art is looking better than ever.

Mind the Gap #6

Written by Jim McCann
Art by Rodin Esquejo

I’m really glad I chose to stick with Jim McCann’s Mind the Gap.  Around the third and fourth issue, I was beginning to worry that this series was just a little too pleased with its own cleverness, and I found myself losing interest, but between last issue’s flashback story, and this month’s excitement, I’m really getting wrapped up in this book.

Elle has been in her coma for a while now, and she’s started to figure out how she can place her consciousness in the bodies of other, recently deceased, coma victims.  She is asked by a young girl, Katie Lawrence, who was taken off life support, to go and make sure that the secret behind her ‘accident’ is revealed.

Elle does this, and is able to make a phone call to her best friend Jo, while in Katie’s body.  She’s found by Katie’s family though, and all hell breaks loose in the hospital.  There is a very cool scene where Katie’s body, being taken to an MRI room, accompanied by Dr. Geller, almost collides with Elle’s, who is also being taken for imaging by her doctor.  The two victims have the same brain wave patterns, and exhibit other synchronized actions.  It’s a very creepy scene.

Also in this issue, we learn a little more about what happened to Elle, and what role her mother and her doctor play in it.  Katie/Elle is yelling gibberish in the hallway (it reminds me of the libretto to much of Phillip Glass’s opera Einstein on the Beach), but in light of her mother’s conversation with the doctor, I think that McCann is dropping some major clues.

Now that McCann has stopped pointing out his own cleverness in the text page, and is not filling the book with long psycho-babble scenes in The Garden, I find it much easier to get swept up in this story.  I’m completely invested in figuring out what happened to Elle, and just who is responsible for what, and I look forward to the next issue.

The Unwritten #43

by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

The events of this series have made quite a mess of the fictional worlds, which has been hinted at for a while, and really only shown in the latest ‘Pauly Bruckner’ issue of The Unwritten.  Well, now Tom Taylor is in the fictional worlds, looking to rescue Lizzie Hexam, and he gets to see just how messed up things are.

Many fictional characters have ended up in the same place, as refugees from their usual spots.  It’s not long before Tom runs in to his old friend, Baron Munchausen, who agrees to take him to the land of the dead.  The problem is, they are being pursued by an army of militant storybook animals, and when Munchausen’s involved, nothing ever goes properly.

This is a solid, good issue.  I’ve felt for a while now that The Unwritten has been moving towards its grand finale, as without the threat of the Cabal, there doesn’t seem to be as much for Tom to do.  The rescue mission concept feels a little tagged on, although now, as we see the problems surrounding Leviathan first hand, I assume that Tom will have to now fix whatever is wrong with fiction.

This book continues to be a very good read, but I would like some better understanding of its structure going forward, less it begin to feel like it’s being improvised in the way that Fables is.

Quick Takes:

Amazing Spider-Man #698 – I have some random issues of Amazing Spider-Man piling up somewhere, as I don’t usually pay full price for this book, and instead try to track it down at sales and in bargain bins.  I’ve liked Dan Slott’s run, but the book comes out way too often to keep buying it at full price.  Anyway, I fell for the hype and picked up this issue, after reading a few too many internet articles about how essential it was going to be.  Most of this issue is spent checking in with Peter Parker and where he is in life – it could be read by someone who hasn’t read a Spidey comic since the 80s and that person wouldn’t be lost (unless they wondered why Peter and MJ weren’t married).  The entire book hinges on the revelation of the last few pages (which I won’t spoil here), and it was definitely not something I expected to see happen.  It also opens things up pretty wide for the upcoming Superior Spider-Man title, when this book is relaunched after issue 700.  I’ll probably stick around until then; I’m intrigued.

Baltimore: The Play – Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden do things a little differently with this one-shot, which barely features Lord Baltimore, the title character.  Instead, it tells the story of how Haigus, the vampire lord he’s been hunting, decides to get involved with the staging of a play in the plague-ridden city of Verona.  The story involves a powerful muse, the decapitated but still speaking head of Edgar Allan Poe, and vampiric lust.  It’s a strange one, but I liked it more than I did the last Baltimore story.  Ben Stenbeck does great work here.

Batwoman #14 – It’s another drop-dead gorgeous issue of Batwoman, as Kate and Wonder Woman figure out where Medusa is, just as she and her army make their move on Gotham.  There is some nice character work on Kate and Diana, and some incredibly beautiful pages.  But then, that’s what always happens when JH Williams is drawing the book.

BPRD 1948 #2 – There is a lot more weirdness going on in the desert as Professor Bruttenholm investigates strange happenings surrounding a nuclear site (and strange happenings going on in his heart), Anders acts weirder than before, and Hellboy gets ready to meet the president.  A very good issue.

Daredevil #20 – I have no idea how you would even begin to explain the science behind this issue, even in comic book terms, but this is yet another solid issue, as DD faces off against Coyote, the newly upgraded Spot, who has begun using his powers in some very interesting ways.

Dark Avengers #183 – Well, the whole Dark Avengers thing really did ruin this title.  This is the final issue before the book becomes a Marvel NOW! title (making it Marvel THEN!?), and I know that I am really not all that interested.  I don’t get it – Jeff Parker is a terrific writer, but this book just keeps getting worse.  This issue tries to wrap up all dangling plot-lines, but really just becomes a huge mess, as characters flit in and out of scenes at random. Much of the blame falls on Neil Edwards, whose art is stiff and awkward throughout, and whose characters all look the same.  Still, I feel like some collection of corporate folks are writing this one, not Parker, who is just trying to connect the dots and keep the characters true to each other.  A sad ending to what used to be a great comic.

DC Universe Presents #14 – I am also disappointed in this Black Lightning/Blue Devil team-up story.  I preordered this on the strength of writer Marc Andreyko’s excellent work on Manhunter, but this is not as character driven as that series was, and the story suffers for it.  I like the twist on the Blue Devil’s origin that we are given here, but the rest of the book is just way too conventional and everyday.

Harbinger #6 – Kris, the girl that Peter Stanchek forced to love him in the first issue of this book, returns to narrate and make this the best issue of Harbinger yet.  Kris finds herself wrapped up in Peter’s drama again, but when she learns about the Harada Foundation, and the Project Rising Spirit folk (I’d forgotten about them), she decides to leverage the influence she has over Peter for the good of the world.  Joshua Dysart is doing some very good stuff with this title, and the art by Phil Briones is very nice.

Hawkeye #4 – If David Aja couldn’t draw an issue of Hawkeye, my choices to replace him would be either Marcos Martin or Javier Pulido.  And so, I was very happy to see that Pulido was drawing this issue and the next.  There is some sort of video tape with footage of Clint killing someone, and it’s gone missing from SHIELD, who send Clint off to Madripoor to try to recover it.  As has become status quo for this series, he totally bungles the mission, and ends up the hostage of Madame Masque.  This continues to be a fun, amusing comic with some truly incredible art.  It has become one of my favourite Marvel books.

Indestructible Hulk #1 – I’m not a huge Hulk fan, but I wanted to see what Mark Waid could do with the property, and I was pleased.  Putting the focus on Bruce Banner, who wants to do good deeds in-between ‘Hulk-outs’ is a nice change for the title, and having him work at SHIELD results in that organization being better-defined than it has since before Norman Osborn shut it all down.  Leinil Yu’s art is nice, if a little too complicated in the action scenes.  I’ll pick up the next issue I think (I’m not sure how aggressively Marvel is double-shipping this book; that will affect whether or not I continue to read it).

Iron Man #2 – I continue to be shockingly uninterested in the Marvel NOW! relaunch of Iron Man.  It would be easy to place the blame at Greg Land’s feet – his art is pretty awful (check out the overly-static fight scenes) – but I fear that some of the blame has to be Kieron Gillen’s as well.  This issue has Tony challenged to fight duels with a bunch of King Arthur-themed Extremis-enhanced armored fighters in Symkaria.  We don’t know who they are or what their deal is, and it’s next to impossible to care.  Gillen writes some very nice dialogue, but there is no sense that this book is moving anywhere interesting.  Strangely, Gillen writes in the text piece about how his intent with this title is to be more improvisational with his plotting than he was with Uncanny X-Men, Journey Into Mystery (and one would assume, Phonogram).  To me, that sounds like he’s decided to forgo his strengths with this book.  Pair that up with a crappy artist, and my desire to read this title is fading quickly.  Since it’s often double-shipped, I’m going to be taking it off my pull-list with the next issue of Previews, and we’ll see what happens from there.  Very disappointing…

Nightwing #14 – I still don’t understand why Tom DeFalco has been writing this book, but he’s kept things consistent with what Kyle Higgins was doing, and turned in a decent enough story about Dick fighting Lady Shiva that tangentially ties in to the whole Death of the Family thing.  I think it’s interesting how the Penguin is getting built up as a major player in the Bat-Books these days.

Revival #5 – I’d say this was the first disappointing issue of Revival, as Tim Seeley’s plot slid all over the place, without barely showing us its usual main character, Officer Dana Cypress.  Instead, we saw Martha, our hero’s sister, get involved in the drama surrounding Blaine Abel, the phony demonologist, and the strange white creature that we’ve seen from time to time in the series.  I’d assumed the creature was an alien, but now that is looking less likely.  I think what trashed this issue for me is the scene where Abel chases Martha and journalist May across some fields on snowmobiles, before they end up in highway traffic.  If the entire area is under quarantine, why are there semis driving along highways?  Perhaps they were outside the quarantine zone, but that doesn’t make sense either.  I don’t want to pick this book apart, because I’ve been enjoying it, but that wrinkle kind of wrecked things for me.

Star Wars: Agent of the Empire – Hard Targets #2 – Political and familial intrigue, a flying pirate ship, and plans within plans.  John Ostrander’s James Bond meets Star Wars series continues to impress as an intelligent read that should appeal to a wide variety of fans.  It’s good stuff.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #17 – I was worried that the United We Stand mini-crossover in the Ultimate books would have too much of an impact on Miles and his title, and I was right to worry.  This issue fills in what Miles was up to during SHIELD’s war with Hydra in Wyoming, and while it’s still nicely written, it really upsets the vibe that Brian Michael Bendis had going with this title.  I hope that things go back to normal soon (and that includes getting Sara Pichelli or David Marquez back on art – Pepe Larraz is fine, but I prefer the other two).

Ultimate Comics X-Men #18.1 – I’d planned on being finished with this series, but I figured that since 0.1 issues are priced at a level I support, I’d give it another chance.  Brian Wood basically constructs his own version of an Ultimate M-Day here, as many thousands of mutants undergo the government’s ‘cure’, and become human.  This leads to all sorts of tensions, and Kitty gets interviewed by the Feds about the state of mutantkind for the whole issue.  The timeline of events runs way too quickly to be credible, and there is a strange lack of any adult mutants in the story.  That said, Wood writes a mean Kitty Pryde.  I might give ‘The Reservation’, the next arc, one chance to impress me.

Uncanny X-Force #34 – This issue wraps up The Final Execution Saga, which has been running for a while now.  Logan confronts his son (hopefully for the last time), while the other members of the team face off against the rest of Daken and Sabretooth’s squad.  This has been a very good run, and I’m sad to see that Rick Remender has only one issue left.

Wolverine and the X-Men #21 – I just don’t know what’s going on with this title.  In this 20-page comic, six of them are given over to introducing the X-Men in their new circus-themed mind-controlled guises, but we never find out how they came under the thrall of Frankenstein’s circus.  The plot involves the Frankenstein Monster wanting to find and kill the last descendant of Victor Frankenstein, and so to do so, he puts all the adults of Westchester under the thrall of some witch, so they’d come watch the X-Men perform circus acts, and then get their souls stolen, or something.  The plot twist?  The last Frankenstein is not an adult!  He’s a child!  It’s like reading a bad Silver Age Jimmy Olson comic.  I find it hard to believe that this is written by the same Jason Aaron who wrote Scalped.

Wonder Woman #14 – As expected, another terrific issue of Wonder Woman.  Diana gets to know her half-sister Siracca (who wants to kill her), while the identity of the big guy who crawled out of the Antarctic is more or less revealed, and the Olympians scheme.  We also see Highfather and Orion, which is kind of cool.  Brian Azzarello’s run on this title is becoming legendary for, if nothing else, making me like Wonder Woman, something no previous writer has been able to do.  Tony Akins does a terrific job on the art, just like he always does.

X-Factor #247 – Peter David gives us a good issue wherein Jamie and Layla’s honeymoon in Vegas gets interrupted by someone who is cutting the heads off of Abe Lincoln impersonators.  It’s the kind of issue that the X-Factor crew does best – a few jokes, a few hints to an upcoming problem, and no reference at all to the cliff-hanger from last issue.

X-O Manowar #7 – It seems that not all Vine plantings feel the same way, as Alexander Dorian summarizes Vine culture in a less-than glowing way for Aric and Ninjak, and they decide to start working together to protect the Earth from Vine-wrought destruction.  This is a very good issue of what has been a very good series.  I miss Cary Nord’s art, but Lee Garbett is a good replacement.

Comics I Would Have Bought if They Weren’t $4:

Astonishing X-Men #56

Avengers #34

Captain America #1

Rocketeer Cargo of Doom #4

Wolverine #316

Bargain Comics:

The Tower Chronicles: Geisthawk Vol. 1 – There was a time when a new series by Matt Wagner and Simon Bisley would have been a reason to rejoice, but this is most definitely not the same Matt Wagner who wrote the Grendel series.  Bisley has never been a huge favourite of mine, but these days his art looks like a cross between Richard Corben’s and Glenn Fabry’s, instead of the looser, dynamic work he did on Lobo back in the day.  This series, from Legendary Comics, this year’s version of Radical Comics (i.e., a comic company that exists only to develop film properties), introduces us to John Tower, a killer for hire who specializes in the occult and weird.  He ends up working a vampire case with the FBI, but never becomes more than a cipher through the whole issue – we don’t really get to know him, and therefore don’t begin to care about him.  I will not be returning for future volumes…

Ultimate Armor Wars #1-4 – I’m always willing to get drawn in to a Warren Ellis-written mini-series, and in that sense, this doesn’t really disappoint.  He has Ultimate Tony Stark tracking down some missing Stark Tech, in a series that really just retreads on one of my favourite Iron Man runs of all times, but with booze and a little more snark.  The craziest thing about this series?  The knowledge that I’ve been complaining about $4 comics for at least three years!

The Week in Graphic Novels:

Neonomicon

Written by Alan Moore
Art by Jacen Burrows

Having never read any HP Lovecraft, I’m left wondering just why he has such a lasting influence on comics writers and artists.  I’d rank him up there with Nikola Tesla as having almost become a comic book genre unto himself.

Neonomicon is Alan Moore’s love letter to Lovecraft.  This edition contains two separate stories – the comics adaptation of Moore’s prose story The Courtyard (adapted by Antony Johnston), and the four-issue Neonomicon sequel mini-series that Moore wrote for Avatar.  Both stories are illustrated by Jacen Burrows.

In The Courtyard, a racist FBI agent with a rare ability to find connections between disparate threads of cases, becomes interested in a new drug called Aklo.  Users of this drug exhibit the use of a strange language similar to speaking in tongues, and have a tendency to chop up people around them.  The Courtyard is a little trippy, but also kind of grounded in things.  It introduces the character of Johnny Carcosa, a dealer who keeps the lower half of his face hidden behind a silk handkerchief, and who hangs out in a nightclub called the Club Zothique.

In Neonomicon, some time has passed since the events of The Courtyard.  It’s not clear how much time, but things feel very different.  Cities are protected by large domes, but there is no explanation for it.  Two new FBI agents, Brears and Lamper, begin to look in to murders that appear to be connected to the same club.  They try to apprehend Carcosa, but he escapes (the second time, in a very cool, very Alan Moore scene).  The two agents catch on to the recurring HP Lovecraft theme in everything that is going on, and travel to Salem to continue their investigation.

This is where things start to get really weird, as the two agents are inducted into a cult that uses sex and orgone energy to attract a merman creature.  This part of the story is pretty explicit, and I can understand why there was some controversy surrounding this book when it got its start.

I enjoyed reading both stories in this book.  I know that Moore has his detractors, and personally, I don’t see the appeal of Lovecraft, but I did enjoy the way this story was structured.  He plays around a little with people’s perceptions of the world, and the scene where Carcosa makes his escape is incredible.  Burrows is a talented artist who has a good handle on the range of human expressions, but can also graft those same emotions onto a merman creature thing.  This is a good read, but it’s not a book you’d leave lying around the house.

Album of the Week:

Karriem Riggins – Alone Together – Karriem Riggins is one of those unsung heroes of hip-hop.  His name has shown up all over the place over the years, working with a number of artists, but this is his first solo album.  It’s a collection of some thirty instrumental tracks mostly composed on an MPC 3000.  There’s a lot of great head-nodders here, and the requisite Dilla homage track.  It’s good stuff.

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