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Neonomicon #2 – Review

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

The Story: The FBI’s investigation into a seeming cult takes a weird twist for the worse.

What’s Good: Alan Moore is just a master of the medium.  The man has nine Eisner Awards for Best Writer.  NINE!  The next closest writers are two folks tied with three each (answer below).*  His writing is just flowing and effortless and his dialog is just comfortable without resorting to gaggy jokes to pull off the banter.  With some comic writers, you read the comic and can actually envision that you could probably take a hack at writing a comic book.  You don’t get that feeling reading this comic as Moore continues this tale of two FBI agents attempting to get to the bottom of a cult that has been carving people up.

One of the things that makes Moore so gifted is that he can tell a story at multiple levels.  There is considerable background material for Neonomicon as the story is a direct continuation from The Courtyard which is a prose story written by Moore almost 20 years ago.  Further, as the FBI agents dig deeper into their investigation, it becomes clear that the cult is (possibly) inspired by the writings of HP Lovecraft and Moore’s script has many goodies for Lovecraft fans.  All that being said, if you have never read The Courtyard or a single sentence of Lovecraft, Moore has still created a comic that you can enjoy as he sends the FBI agents on an undercover mission that you KNOW is going to end horribly.

Perhaps “enjoy” isn’t quite the correct word because this issue goes to some extremely dark and uncomfortable places that run one of our main characters through quite a ringer that is especially poignant give this character’s past.  Even if you don’t bat an eye at sexuality or violence in comics, this issue may make you a little squirmy.  Let’s just say that Moore is clearly a filthy old man (and that is meant as a compliment).

The art is mostly of a serviceable quality, but the aforementioned “dark and uncomfortable” scene wouldn’t be nearly as effective without the art, especially where Burrows uses a clever trick to show how little one of the characters can see without their contact lenses by showing a really blurry first person perspective.  Often first person perspective doesnt’ work very well in comics, but this art really brings the horror of this scene home especially when it is combine with unblurry panels from a more normal perspective that still don’t quite reveal what is going on.

What’s Not So Good: Nothing really.  This isn’t going to be a comic for everyone given the subject matter, but most people who read this knew what they were getting into.

Conclusion: Outstanding, even if you will feel like you need a Silkwood shower after reading it.

Grade: A-

- Dean Stell

* Neil Gaiman & Ed Brubaker are tied with 3 Eisner Awards each for Best Writer

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9 Responses

  1. “The art is mostly of a serviceable quality”

    Wow. Really?

    • Hey Conan,

      Thanks for stopping by. I’ll stand by that comment. Please understand that when I saw serviceable, I don’t mean “bad”. I just don’t think that there’s anything too special about the art. It’s fine, but I think any professional comic artist could have turned out an issue that worked just about as well, especially when you consider how much direction Alan Moore typically gives his artist. Is there something that you thought was really something cool that I’m overlooking?

  2. I agree with Josey about the dialogue—I had trouble with it in issue one too.

    But I also agree with dfstell’s review here (thanks for pointing me to it). Because the +The Courtyard+ and issue one are so “slow” to develop, the ending of issue 2 shocked me.

    I am pretty desensitized myself, but I WAS caught off guard (note to self: do not read future issues on airplanes).

    What I’m not quite sure to do with is the racism stuff at the end—the hook was Lovecraft’s obvious prejudice, but it doesn’t make sense to me a contemporary cult would . . . well, whatever. I’m just rambling.

    Good review.

    • Hey Josh,

      Glad you found this review too. My big thing is that I read non-Marvel/DC comics to see artists being creative and pushing the envelope. I would never want to see this sort of thing in a Captain America story, but by the same token….I hate it when an Image book reads as tamely as a Marvel book. I enjoy both but have very different expectations.

      LOL….can’t imagine you were able to finish this on the plane. You must have had to put it away and get it out in the privacy of your own home later. :)

  3. The reviewer must have read a different story than me. I find Neonomican to be Alan Moore at almost self-parody, and if it weren’t for the obvious pretentiousness, one would think it was intentional.

    The characters don’t speak like real people, Their dialogue sounds more like urban intellectuals discussing Lovecraft in a coffee shop, not cops trying to solve a crime. The dialogue gets excruciating when they disguise themselves as potential cult members.

    I’m surprised anyone is surprised by the inclusion of a rape scene. Moore has rape in almost all his stories, it’s like his signatures. Sure, he says he’s trying to show the mistreatment of women, but this reads more like a porn, especially the dialogue during the scene. It’s unpleasant, but it’s more like “sheesh, another Moore rape scene” instead of “oh my god, it’s so brutal.”

    Wouldn’t recommend it.

    • Hey Josey…. Different strokes. I personally haven’t read that much Alan Moore. Watchmen, Prometea, but that’s it. So, I might not be as used to his patterns as you are.

      To each their own. I can just call it how I see it. Thanks for visiting the site.

  4. i really liked this one, it made me feel a little bitter, but in a good way, and since i dont speak very well english i hope to be understood, hehe! but great comic anyway! and great review too

  5. Good review. Yeah this was a truly horrifying comic, I guess that was the point. I wasn’t really prepared for this despite being a huge fan of Moore and Lovecraft and Horror in all mediums. I felt a bit sick after reading it. That said, this is horror and it’s an achievement to be able to disturb someone who was fairly desensitized. I will definately buy the final two issues.

    • I’m sticking around for the final 2 issues, but I’m going to be much more “prepared” when I open the cover to issue #3.

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