CCCBC: Neonomicon #3
by T. Hodler
Friday, January 28, 2011
So here’s some brief thoughts, as we wait for the final issue. Please add or argue with them in the comments, if you like.
1. The events and setting are just as horrific here as last issue, but the tone could not be much more different. To steal a phrase or two from every comics blogger’s best buddy, Joe McC: “It’s as if [Alan] Moore sat back and thought ‘now what’s the most horrible thing I can possibly do at this juncture in the story?’ The answer, of course, was ‘big dollops of broad, deliberate comedy,’ moreso than anything in the prior issue, so loud that at one point an entire splash page is reserved primarily for a character mugging toward the ‘camera’ after a particularly rank Lovecraft-themed verbal gag. This series is the damndest thing.” Even in the comparatively harrowing issue two, rape and murder seemed to be treated somewhat lightly; this time, Moore and Burrows dwell over the crime at length. Even readers not offended last time around might find this too cavalier.
2. The previous Moore story this most reminds me of so far is his The Killing Joke, another story that involved clever juxtapositions, abrupt shifts in tone, arguably exploitative violence, and an originating impulse grounded in one of Moore’s “bad moods.”
By the end of the series it actually answers the question that always bugged me about the Cthulhu mythos. I mean, I know that the first God Lovecraft created in the mythos was Cthulhu itself, in 1926, in “The Call of Cthulhu.” Then Cthulhu became such a popular figure that he then came up with all the other Gods: Yog-Sottoth and all the rest of them, who are supposed to be inferior to Cthulhu. I mean, it’s the Cthulhu Mythos. His name is on the mythos! He’s pretty much the boss monster. And yet, he’s humanoid. He’s got tentacles for a face, admittedly – but he has got arms and legs. A head, a torso. Whereas Azathoth is a kind of eternal nuclear explosion or something, just a seething nuclear chaos. Yog-Sottoth is the cooling chaos. The thing that you glimpse at the centre of the dark. These are not human figures at all. So why is Cthulhu – if he is the boss monster – why is he humanoid? This is one of the questions we answer in the course of Neonomicon.
That Brears is pregnant with something seems very plausible, and I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t pick up on the idea until I came across it online. But I’m not sure this mother-of-Cthulhu idea makes sense, at least if we take this quote at face value. Mostly because the Deep One here is pretty humanoid already…
4. Johnny Carcosa is more interesting and less predictable in Neonomicon than he seemed in The Courtyard.
5. Allegorical readings are always dangerous, usually superfluous, and wrong to boot, but if we extend the one I bruited as a possibility last meeting, then Brears/Alan Moore has been locked in a room with the Deep One/Watchmen, and been forced to have sex with it repeatedly. At the same time, DO/W seems to have more sympathy for B/AM than for the murderous cultists/DC, and their potential offspring seems to offer hope of freedom or other rewards for all but DC.
6. Despite somewhat mixed feelings for this series, I can’t wait for issue four. It is hard to believe that there is only one issue left in this series; I expect a lot to happen in it.