The Review Group gets in on the Halloween spirit by taking a look at a HP Lovecraft book, is it terrifying, or just terrible?
The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's Newstand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.
My opinion of IDW has changed significantly over the last year. While I had never considered the publisher to be much of a force in the industry, that changed significantly after I read the critically-acclaimed Locke and Key and finally began to test the water of some of IDW's other offerings. Nowadays, there's not much that I don't pick up from IDW.
I was psyched to see that IDW was doing a modern adaptation of Lovecraft's Dunwich Horror as I'm a big fan of Lovecraft and his malevolent Old Ones. While I wasn't disappointed with the adaptation's first issue, I did find myself moderately underwhelmed. The Dunwich Horror feature is only featured in 16 pages of the story while a period adaptation of The Hound takes up an additional 6 pages, all of which are single panels with fancy script captions. While I appreciate that they paired up The Hound and The Dunwich Horror for their common themes (which hasn't been revealed yet) The Hound back-up was sorely lacking and made the issue a disappointingly quick read.
As to the actual content of the story, The Dunwich Horror is pretty different from the original source and sets up a story that could be interesting in future issues. The Hound back-up is nigh unreadable due to their script captions and reminded me how much I hate comics of that nature.
All in all, this is a serviceable read for Lovecraft fans but unnecessary for everyone else.
I like Lovecraft. I like his stuff a lot and I usually really enjoy modern stories worked into his mythos. However aside from Ian Culbard's illustrated "At The Mountains of Madness" I find that any adaption with a visual element tends to miss something for me.
While I don't have a copy of the Dunwich Horror to hand, I get the feeling it didn't involve any texting, and the decision to move it to modern times is interesting but so far pretty pointless. The addition of technology doesn't add anything to the story and some of the dialogue feels a lot like it's ripped right from the original story making it seem very out of place and awkward. Perhaps it's lucky that any dialogue here is minimal and the art is allowed to do most of the heavy lifting.
Except it's not that lucky. The problem with indescribable horrors and the warped corners of sanity is that any attempt to render it visually can only ever disappoint, and even though the art is nice and painterly it's trying to do a job that can't really be done and any sense of mounting dread is lifted by the underwhelming depictions of animal parts and even compared to this month's Animal Man #2 the body horror here is lacking.
The backup story is a serviceable illustrated story, with pleasant art but fairly hard-to-decipher lettering and doesn't really benefit from being anything other than plain prose.
Overall, a disappointing affair that doesn't do much for me at all and feels very perfunctory and unnecessary all round.
I'm probably one of the few who does not get into Lovecraft at all. I've read several stories and was unimpressed by all of them.
That being said, I do love this writer and have never been dissapointed with him... until now. This whole story feels completely dull and boring. There's not much real horror in it and what there is doesn't really impress.
The art is okay, nothing amazing. Headless flying cows are a cool concept but as Zero already mentioned, even that felt unimpressive. To it's credit though, it was still a helluva lot better than last weeks pick.
My Score: 4
Interesting issue here. The lead story sets to bring the terror of The Dunwich Horror into the present day, but it takes a while to get going. After a nice beheading, the story tries to establish an odd grouping of mythchasers who say a lot without saying a lot in their little meeting. Dull conversation and flat artwork just don't make the story sing like it should.
The back-up story is an excellent re-working of The Hound by Robert Weinberg and Menton3 that captures all of the Baroque eeriness and existential dread of Lovecraft. The paintings are truly gorgeous, and will probably the best part of this series.
Man, I was really expecting more from this comic. The first few pages were solid, atmospheric and moody, with the art capably reflecting the grotesque fate of Jason by an unknown horror.
After that, things fall apart. Instead of advancing the promising prologue, the book devolves into page after page of stilted and momentum-less dialogue between the remaining friends, seemingly amateur paranormal investigators. Even the last page disappoints, although that might have to do with the art as much as the story. While solidly rendered in the prologue, the art looks less and less professional when it really counts, with little movement and a drab tone that does little to hide the blocky and inconsistent anatomy.
No, I won't be checking out issue 2. Too bad.
This comic was bad all around. I've never read any lovecraft but I'm sure he spinning in his grave at the adaptation. I didn't even bother with the back up of some messageboard handler doing his best Dave Mckean impression.
Ouch, that was pretty painful, sorry HP!
Overall, this book only managed an average score of 3.67, which is a shame. Join the discussion here, and join us next week for a look at Wolverine & The X-Men #1.
Written or Contributed by: Niam Suggitt