Fall of Cthulhu 1: The Fugue – Michael Nelson

Modern Cthulhu tales don’t work. When H.P Lovecraft created his nihilistic creeping doom there was no internet, no television and half the world lacked indoor plumbing. If you try and introduce a subtle, mysterious horror into a world of 24 hour shopping and total media coverage then don’t be surprised when it fails. Lovecraft was of his time and his work is brilliant in its context but we aren’t afraid of going to the toilet in the middle of the night any more. We are afraid of different things such as twitter going down or running out of fake tan. Slapping the word Cthulhu on your work in the hope that it sells more copies or worse still cutting and pasting mythos characters into your story because you are too lazy to think of your own is unforgiveable.

Boom Studios produce a lot of Cthulhu spinoffs, probably because it is out of copyright, so they should be good at it by now. To be fair this isn’t a bad story. It uses quite a lot of the mythos characters and puts them together in new ways. It stays true to Lovecraft’s themes and tries to come up with an interesting and engaging story. If it was set in the twenties then it might work but all the rampant daylight of the modern setting seems to bleach out the nefarious horror.

The art is serviceable but not outstanding. Having been spoilt by modern super slick colours this looks flat. There is no innovation or artistic flair at work and some of the panels are murky and indistinct. It does have a traditional mythos ending and I am kind of curious to know what happens next as there are several volumes in this series but not if that means paying for it. This is definitely the best modern Cthulhu I have seen but I can’t give it a thumbs up. If Lovecraft taught us anything it is to leave the past well alone and not meddle in what magics came before.

75/290.

Tomorrow: At the Mountains of Madness – Ian Culbard

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