Lock the doors, and bar the windows, because Cthulhu is back in town, and you’re about to come down with a bad case of heebie-jeebies.
THE CALLING: CTHULHU CHRONICLES #1
Writer: Michael Alan Nelson and Johanna Stokes
Artist: Christopher Possenti
Colorist: Stephen Downer
Letterer: Johnny Lowe
Covers: Sean Phillips (A) Fredrico Piatti (B)
Editor: Bryce Carlson
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Previously in Cthulhu: The Great Old Ones sleep until the time of the awakening, when they will once again claim dominion over all they survey. While the mighty Cthulhu slumbers, he still is able to influence those with weak minds, forcing them to do his bidding…or something like that…
STRANGE THINGS ARE AFOOT IN PARADISE
This has got to be one of the creepiest books I’ve read in a long time, as Clay Diggs discovers his sister, Azilee, has committed herself to an insane asylum. She claims “He” told her to kill and hurt people to the point she snapped, and mutters again and again that everyone in Paradise is dead. She won’t name the mysterious He, but Clay believes her boyfriend is behind her sudden psychosis.
The story turns chilling when Clay discovers that the photographer boyfriend is just as shaken up as she is. Jeremiah shows Clay photo after photo of pictures he’s taken of Azillee on their trips abroad, and each time a mysterious stranger appears to be standing close to Azille whispering something in her ear. Only problem is, when Jeremiah originally took the pictures, the stranger was no where to been seen.
It’s only then that Clay is made aware of a newspaper report that tells of a ship that ran aground with all 1,971 passengers on board dead. The name of the ship…The Paradise.
Oh yes, the final page of the issue does include a shocker that makes this story feel like Michael Alan Nelson and Johanna Stokes have channeled Lovecraft, Stephen King, Rod Serling, and Koji Suzuki to scare the bejeezus out of any who dare read the story between the cover. I wasn’t too thrilled when the opening pages contained the murder of a mother and son, but as the pieces began to fall into place, I realized this is a spook story to be read during the daytime only.
SPOOKY TALE, REALLY NICE ART
I don’t think I’ve seen Christopher Possenti’s work before, but I like what he’s serving up. He keeps each of the characters distinct, and is able to really show the terror in the expressions of nearly everyone on the page. The way he frames the photographs that capture the mysterious figure are well done, as each reveal heightens the story being told. I don’t know if it is intentional or not, but there’s something about the way Possenti draws Clay Diggs that makes him look a lot like Jim Carrey. If this is a subtle way for BOOM! Studios to get the star interested in making a movie of the series, then Possenti nailed it.
BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT
If you enjoy the feeling of your hairs standing on end, then The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles #1 is an issue you really need to pick up. When the bigger story starts to unfold it shows how well the individual pieces are told to make the story work. Realistically, you may not get scared or creeped out from reading a comic book, but I sure as heck wouldn’t want to read The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles #1 right before going to bed, as I don’t want to wake up in a cold sweat screaming about the man in the picture. A great opening chapter earns The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles #1 4.5 out of 5 Stars.