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Neonomicon #1 – Review

By: Alan Moore (writer), Jacen Burrows (art) & Juanmar (colors)

The Story: Two FBI agents tracking a serial killer enlist the aid of an institutionalized killer who had the same M.O.

What’s Good: It’s an Alan Moore written comic, so this comic has a much higher certainty of “not sucking” than just about any other comic book you can grab off the shelf.  At worst, you’re going to get something like Tom Strong and at best, you could get something like Promethea or Watchmen.  So, I’ll admit to being a little baffled in a few weeks when I’ll see from the sales charts that this only sold ~5K issues or so.

Moore does a very fine job of establishing his story in this first issue.  There’s no screwing around, no forays into the meaning of life/religion/the universe… None of that stuff.  He just lays out the story.  Two FBI agents (including a hot female agent who is a recovering sex addict) are tracking a serial killer who doesn’t just kill folks…. He cuts off their arms and heads and “carves them like tulips”.  It is heavily implied that this carving isn’t just figurative… The guy is actually making something like an ice sculpture, but one of the very nice things is that they do not show us anything.   A lot of lesser creators would have just jumped into showing the gore, but here it is implied and I appreciate that.

Beyond a well established central pair of characters, I also appreciate that this comic has some other demonic/mystical stuff going on.  You could probably guess that from the title (i.e. it isn’t called “Crime Alley” or anything like that).  Again, none of this is overt, but it is heavily hinted at and I’m very eager to see how it plays out.

Burrows’ art is very effective at telling the story.  There is nothing flashy about the art (a la Promethea), but this story doesn’t call for that sort of thing at all.

What’s Not So Good: Well, it is no Watchmen.  Seriously, my biggest complaint about this first issue is that I expected to like it more than I did.  I like the writing, I like the art, I like the set-up, I like the genre……but all those “likes” do not add up to “love”.  There was nothing in this first issue that was setting me on fire, but there was certainly nothing wrong with it either.  It’s just a matter of expectation.

Conclusion: If  you contain your expectations, this is a very good horror/crime comic.  Just cover up the place where it says “Alan Moore” on the cover and you’ll probably have lower expectations and enjoy it more.

Grade: B-

- Dean Stell

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11 Responses

  1. Reading it as someone who knows a lot about the Cthulhu Myths, there are so many hints dropped in this first issue, and I haven’t read any more yet, that it isn’t even funny. A madman who cuts peoples hands of and mentions Ygolonac? A woman with hints of a background of repressed unnatural sexual desires, which further ties back to Ygolonac? It just screams “wait and see.”

    • Hey Aaron…. Just wait and see where it goes. I hate to spoil it, but even someone like me who isn’t a Lovecraft guy appreciates where it ends up.

  2. Well, hang on. Issue #2 was an absolute jaw-dropper because it shows you almost everything in graphic detail. I’m still sort of disturbed by it. Damn thing gave me nightmares for weeks!

    • Josh…..That review is here on the site too. The end of that was really disturbing. Hey….Mr. Moore knows how to write, huh?

  3. I’ve just finished an in-depth analysis of this issue’s brilliant use of framing… check it out:

    • AybG’s analysis of the book changes everything. All previous reviews need to be rewritten in light of this.

  4. Hey Haroon,

    I did know that it was a continuation of Courtyard (which I haven’t read). I didn’t think it merited mention because the story isn’t hard to understand at all. I would have mentioned it if I’d read this and was completely and utterly baffled about what was going on, but I wasn’t. IMO it’s an above average comic, but nothing spectacular. Remember, that we have a grading scale where “C” is an average comic :)

  5. I mean couldn’t recommend them more, sorry

  6. It is crucial that you all understand that this is a continuation of Moore’s “The Courtyard”. Without reading Courtyard then you’re kinda jumping in blind and are missing huge pieces of the story. I’m suprised the reviewer didnt mention it. I was so excited about this book b/c when I read Courtyard it really blew me away and I hope this story will really flesh it out, so far it looks very promising. I could recommend these books more.

  7. Leslie…..I think you’re probably safe skipping this and catching it in trade if it turns out to be so good that it cannot be missed. There was nothing about this first issue that made me think it wouldn’t be just fine in trade.

  8. I’m an admirer of Moore’s. LEG, Swamp Thing, 1963, Watchmen, Promethea, Tom Strong, but I skipped this bacause I’m not interested in serial killer/horror.

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