Daily Archives: April 27, 2008

Quick Critiques – April 27, 2008

Cthulhu Tales #1 (Boom! Studios)
by Steve Niles, Michael Alan Nelson, Tom Peyer, Chee & Sunder Raj

Not surprisingly, it’s horror writer Steve Niles who provides the strongest story in the first issue of this themed anthology series. He and artist Chee quickly establish a pervading, unsettling atmosphere that something unnatural and insidious lurks just outside of the reader’s perspective. The story’s not terribly innovative; it’s easy to see where the writer’s going. And Niles’s opening scene doesn’t really jibe with the plot. Still, it’s entertaining. The other two segments in the book are diverting as well. Nelson’s piece about kids stumbling upon the emergence of evil in their own community is pretty much by the numbers, and I didn’t quite follow what the sheriff was talking about at the end of the book. I suspect his comments would be appreciated by the diehard Lovecraft fan. Sunder Raj’s art tells the story clearly, and the colors really drive home the eerie atmosphere. His designs for the corpse and the monster really put me in mind of Guy (B.P.R.D.) Davis’s style. For his story, Tom Peyer takes the notion of the Boston Red Sox’s long-running “curse” and ties it into Cthulhu rituals and dark magic. It’s a fairly tongue-in-cheek story that really doesn’t strive to scare or disturb; its appeal is limited to the high concept. It’s one that doesn’t merit a long explanation or execution, so this short story suits it pretty well. After reading the comic, though, the stories didn’t stick with me at all. I would have expected at least one to offer a challenging idea or a lasting chill, but that really wasn’t the case. I’m left wondering if there’s enough life in the premise to sustain an ongoing anthology (not to mention the fact that Boom! already has another related title — Fall of Cthulhu — on the go). 6/10

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