29 May 2016

Review: Providence Act 1

Providence Act 1 Providence Act 1 by Alan Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As one of maybe a dozen people who actually enjoyed Neonomicon, getting my hands on the first set of Providence, Alan Moore's latest foray into the Mythos, was a bit of a priority. I don't know if we call this a prequel, spiritual or otherwise, to his Neonomicon/Courtyard, but the mood it exists in certainly matches up, and that might be all that matters.

For this story, though, we're in late-1910s New England (of course) with a journalist-type exploring some information on a story supposedly inspired by The King in Yellow (which gained some prominence for those of us in the real world thanks to True Detective a few years back) that is causing people some issues (to put it mildly).

The story is a real slow burn in many ways. One thing Moore does in this one is intersperse the comic form with a lot of text, and, frankly, this doesn't work so much for me as I would have preferred all one way or all the other. The way the tale jumps back and forth between comic and prose is too jarring (and the prose is not simply like you'd expect in book form, either) to really be resonant. The art, however, continues to be second-to-none, and Burrows in particular has a style that I really associate with Lovecraftian comics for better or for worse, now.

Overall, I don't see this drawing in new readers to the Mythos or to Moore's Lovecraftian stuff period, just because of how strange and nonstandard it is. For someone who is a major fan of both, however, this felt like a bit of a misstep in comparison while still being one of the most engaging reads in this area I've had in some time. Really, your enjoyment of this will depend on your tolerance for the weird (and The Weird) as well as the format Moore opted to run with here.

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