In a week of very real horrors it’s somewhat refreshing to climb into Alan Moore’s world of creeping dread which instantly throws you for a loop as the first page is, well, impossible to read. What is happening or being said I don’t know but right away it’s unsettling because it’s familiar and I almost think I maybe, possibly know what it is but I don’t so frankly, it’s a tad creepy. Great stuff.
The story picks up with Robert Black trying to track down Garland Wheatley, who goes by a very weird name.
The Wheatley’s are a ‘blighted’ family in that the family is from ‘declining stock’. Basically Moore exposes us to the snobbishness of early 20th century New England, but what really is the problem with the Wheatley’s? Robert finds out right away that Garland is, a bit odd.
Black and Wheatley have a very lengthy discussion on magic that smacks of Moore mixing up the opinions of his characters with that of his own, but the conversation leads him to meet Wheatley’s daughter, Leticia, who is also a wee bit odd. Problem is that slow creeping dread starts to creep back in and we find out something about the father of Leticia’s child even if we didn’t actually ask the question.
Quite who ‘he’ is that was ‘working daddy’ isn’t revealed but the horror of what happened to Letcia is made perfectly clear in one of those splash pages artist Jacen Burrows excels at. Black though still has the boy, Willard to meet, and once we meet him even anyone with a passing knowledge of Lovecraft should suss out what fathered Willard, who is awfully advanced for his age.
Moore keeps dragging Robert Black deeper and deeper into this Lovecraftian world which is getting stranger, more disturbing and more menacing for Black as these people he meets are guiding him towards a path that he can’t seem to get off.
Providence is proving to be a serious work by Moore. The skill that he Burrows show in spinning this tale which as yet is still a mystery but the entire premise that it’s about Black writing a book is hiding what is really happening, though as yet I’m not sure exactly what that is. The one thing Moore is excellent at is hiding the bigger picture until you least expect it, though next issue will shine a little bit more light on where exactly this story is going.