I love the eldritch writings of H.P. Lovecraft
& also love the imaginative redefining of established genres by Alan Moore. And I utterly adored Moore's reworking of Lovecraft's stories in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
(particularly the encounter between an ancient evil & Jeeves & Wooster), so this was a must-buy!
By way of introduction, this volume contains The Courtyard
& is followed by its longer sequel, Neonomicon. When several unconnected people suddenly become killers who mutilate their victims in an identical, ritualised way, the FBI naturally take an interest. What they find is, as Lovecraft would say, "indescribable!"
Many elements of Moore's recent works are in evidence - magickal awakenings reminiscent of Promethea
& some sexually explicit material which brings to mind Lost Girls
& 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom
. Add to that some downright nasty elements & you can appreciate that this one is very much for adults only.
If you're not familiar with Lovecraft's work, then what you'll probably get from this is a particularly dirty horror story, beautifully illustrated by Jacen Burrows but flawed in places (the police procedurals are inaccurately sloppy for the sake of the plot & one of Burrows' splash pages doesn't quite work for me). If you're a fan of Lovecraft, you'll get a unique & quite brilliant new perspective on stories nearly 80 years old, reinterpreted in an unexpected & exciting way, which totally fits with the source material. It left me with much to ponder & a burning desire to once again reread the originals - this time with new eyes.
You know when you encounter genius because what it tells you seems so apparent that in hindsight, you're amazed that you didn't think of it yourself sooner. By that measure, this deceptively straightforward story is certainly a work of genius, as long as you're familiar with the source material. If not, you'll probably wonder what all the fuss is about...