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