The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles (Boom! – Stokes / Nelson / Possenti)
An all-new ongoing Lovecraft-inspired supernatural horror series with a decidedly modern spin from superstar writing team Michael Alan Nelson and Johanna Stokes! A cruise ship comes to port, hundreds are aboard dead – but why? Clayton Diggs is a pharmaceuticals salesman who discovers his sister has committed herself to an insane asylum; she’s checked herself in, fearing she’ll hurt herself or someone else. All across the world, ordinary people in an ordinary world find themselves drawn by fate to see darkness and despair unlike anything they ever could imagine. Meanwhile, a cult makes its move, believing that there is a great one sleeping that will hear… The Calling! Cover by Criminal’s Sean Phillips and Federica Platti!
Going into this book, I was convinced that the combination of these two standout writers, Nelson (28 Days Later) and Stokes (Galveston), would bring a rich and intriguing story that would pull in a reader almost immediately. And it turns out I was absolutely right!
The Calling is completely different than any other Cthulhu tales that I have delved into. And depending on where you sit with the Lovecraft classics, you will either think it is a good or a bad thing. This has all of the “setting” pieces of your tradition Cthulhu fare (cults, insanity, unexplained deaths) but is missing the almost tangible overwhelming dread that usually comes within the first two pages of reaading these stories (even the comic versions). For me, this is a welcome absence.
I am already rooting for our protagonist Clayton, hoping he can outplay the mysteriously robed figure, untangle what is has happen to his sister and figure how he can overcome this Elder God cult. Usually in a Cthulhu tale, from a narrative point of view, there is no hope – The elder gods will win, humanity will die, we are insects that have no purpose, blah, blah, blah – these tales are some of the most horrorfying I have ever read, and also some of the most depressing. The negativity of these books are so much that for the most part the general public cannot enjoy them, no unsuspecting reader has ever picked up a Lovecraft story and been “pleasantly surprised”. Because of this, Lovecraft has never really gotten the “household” name status and the wide mainstream fan-base that other horror writers (Koontz, King, etc.) have earned. What Nelson and Stokes has done with expert skill is take the Lovecraft mythos and put them in a modern suspense / horror / adventure setting. Unlike almost every other attempt that has been made from a H.P.Lovecraft property, I could easily see this being turned into a movie. While the Lovecraftian traditionalist might call this a sell-out, I believe these authors have scraped away what is not enjoyable to let the story shine, so horror and suspense fans of all walks can enjoy it.
Freshman artist Christopher Possenti shows incredible potential as the majority of this book is very well put together. He lays out some very gripping pages that work well hand in hand with the story telling.
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