Thoughts about #1.
The first issue of Alan Moore’s H.P. Lovecraft inspired tale on the surface didn’t have much going on but even for someone like myself not steeped in Lovecraft lore the sense of dread was clear and obvious.The same is true of this issue from more or less the start.
As I said in the first issue I feel I’m missing a lot because of my scant knowledge of Lovecraft, but Moore’s not the sort of writer to hack out a bit of fan-fiction and let ignorant readers like myself drown. Instead he’s slowly shaping the story of something but we can’t see exactly what it is as yet though bits and bobs are sneaking in, including something possibly a bit different about an early 20th century Irish policeman in Brooklyn in New York.
There’s a lot of talk about mysticism, the Gnostics, religion, magic, devil and at times it does feel like Moore is giving a lecture on his own beliefs as well as giving a (I presume) potted history of mysticism in order to set up the plot, but for a few panels it does come over a little bit too turgid. Before things get too dull Moore manages to turn things round rapidly before flicking the reader back into the same tone of narrative as before.
Providence is an increasingly creepy story of horror that after this issue leaves no doubt that what Black is experiencing isn’t imagined or hallucinations but very real. It’s just he’s not got a clue about that as yet and Moore is skillfully using him as a substitute for people like me that don’t have the encyclopedic Lovecraftian knowledge so the long stretches of exposition aren’t for nothing. In fact it’s probably worth re-reading this issue to pick up on things I’ve missed and that’s part of the beauty of an Alan Moore comic like this: not everything is going to be clear the first time. I’m still picking up things I missed in Watchmen even after I first read it 30 years ago and I’m getting the impression the same may be true for Providence.