What I thought of Providence #12

Thoughts about #1#2#3,#4#5#6#7#8, #9, #10 and #11.

Finally. The last issue of Providence. It seems like a lifetime since this series started but we’ve reached an ending and what sort of ending do we have? Well, it starts in the present day with people discussing the work of Robert Black.

Events here take place after Moore’s previous Lovecraft work, Neonomicon, and here it seems a Lovecraftian hell has enveloped the world as the FBI try to solve the mystery outside their window. I will say that if you’ve not read Neonomicon then do so now because you’ll be utterly lost.

This world is a dark place though Black’s book may well be a guide to getting out of it.

Moore handily drops in some exposition for readers to explain what’s happened just in case you’ve missed it by now, and in fact much of the early part of this issue is establishing what’s passed so we can understand what’s happening in the now of the comic’s timeline.

Once at Miskatonic University we see the madness that’s been unleashed.

Dreams have melted into our world not to mention a nativity is about to happen.

As said, you really need to have read Neonomicon because if you haven’t by this part of Providence #12 you may as well cut the grass or paint the ceiling.

There’s an ending here to all of Moore’s Lovecraft-inspired work for Avatar that leaves it hard to see where it could go next as things are pretty final here. It’s a bleak, sad ending that’s also rewarding as the only ending that could work and be faithful to Lovecraft’s work is something as painfully bleak as this.

Overall Providence isn’t Moore’s best work as being tied to the (in my eyes) poor Neonomicon holds it back from becoming a truly great Moore work but this is definitely in the second tier and now completed, may well improve that rating when I get round to read it in a single sitting with the rest of Moore’s Lovecraft work. This work has made me learn more about Lovecraft and even Moore himself as this is a work that reveals much of how Moore sees creative fiction, even reality itself. This is a work to reflect upon and you really don’t get that much in comics these days…

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What I thought of Providence #11

Thoughts about #1#2#3,#4#5#6#7#8, #9 and #10.

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Robert Black hasn’t had a fun time in this series. Sure, he’s had the odd bit of slap and tickle with the odd young lad, as well as meeting some of his idols but on the whole his time in this series has been shite. At the end of last issue Alan Moore had him in pretty dire straights.

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We rejoin Black on a strange train back to New York, and once there if you, the reader, haven’t worked out where Black’s probably going, Moore makes it clear during a piece of dialogue.

providence19Black returns to prohibition era New York a broken, and changed man as he takes a huge risk in admitting his homosexuality to an old work colleague.

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Things are clearly too much and seeing as everyone has a breaking point, Black breaks as he decides upon suicide as the only way to escape what he’s been put through.

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Things aren’t too good for those people Black met in his travels either, and that includes H.P Lovecraft.

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There then follows a potted history of events after this, mainly drawn from the works of Lovecraft, but Moore takes us on a sometimes gory journey.

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We get the ramifications of the authorities finding out about Black’s research, Lovecraft’s success, his influencing of Conan creator, Robert E. Howard and a trip through time.

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As well as a on-page mention of how Lovecraft’s most famous creation has become a pop culture icon.

 

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We pass the events of Moore and Burrows previous Lovecraft related work, Neonomicon, and beyond before landing in a present where Black’s work has spawned some awful, awful things.

Providence has been an amazing journey through the works of Lovecraft as well as pulling together Moore’s Lovecraft inspired work for Avatar to create something new, and quite special. I will say that Providence is going to probably read better as a single work rather than as 12 issues which have not exactly been published monthly, which leaves us with one more issue that promises to wrap things up. Though I’m sure Alan Moore won’t make it as easy as that.

What I thought of Crossed +100 #18

Thoughts about #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9,#10#11#12#13#14#15, #16 and #17.

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Here it is, the final issue of Crossed +100. That confrontation between Robbie, the Crossed who passed as human and Future Taylor, the person who Robbie betrayed as well as her town who were massacred by the Crossed. In the middle is the Crossed child Future was bringing up as her own.

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Spurrier has a lot of plotlines to wrap up in this issue, which he does while letting the narrative flow but there’s still a feeling while reading this issue that things are a bit cramped, that in fact he’d planned a few more issues and this is cramming everything in. It doesn’t matter though as it works as we get Robbie’s history, as well as the raid on the Crossed stronghold playing out next to each other.

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We find out what Salt was planning for; a hybrid human/Crossed who just happens to be the child Future has been protecting. As all this plays out, Future’s lover, Mustaqba is sitting there with a knife in his guts slowly dying.

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As for the end, there is an ending, there’s also an opening for Future’s story to continue, should of course Avatar want that to happen but right now they’ve not revealed their plans for the Crossed AFAWK.

Crossed +100 has shown that these stories don’t have to be just tedious exercises in gore. rape and violence. That with a skilled writer at the helm a dark science fiction story can emerge with those elements there but they’re not what the story is actually about so there’s not a case where the story beats are just there to take us to the next grotesque moment. They’re there to help drive the story which in this case for now at least, is over.

What I thought of Providence #10

Thoughts about #1#2#3,#4#5#6#7#8 and #9.

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The blurb for this issue states ”the end is near” which finally, it is. Hopefully before the end of 2016 too, but we got to the point last issue where Robert Black and Lovecraft finally met in Lovecraft’s hometown of Providence. This issue starts with the creeping sense of doom Alan Moore’s been building up over the last four or five issues since the last time something really awful happened  to Black before showing us Lovecraft and Black talking about Edgar Allan Poe.

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We then see that Lovecraft has read Black’s diary which has given him ideas, much to the amazement of Black himself.

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After a strange meeting with Howard Charles who has suddenly matured beyond when they last met in the attic of a church last issue, Black and Lovecraft carry on their chat in which Lovecraft outs his homophobic nature to Black.

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Lovecraft also throws in a bit of antisemitism and it’s here Moore finally throws in the more troubling aspects of Lovecraft as a man into the mix. To make things more troubling for Black, it seems he recognises Lovecraft’s father from his trip to Manchester.

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Black then realises what’s possibly been going on around him in his travels which brings back that ominous sense of dread again.

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Then bad things happen.

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Providence has now placed Robert Black in the Very Bad Place it’s been threatening to place him in for more or less the entire run. Although there’s much exposition and explanation in this issue there’s enough still waiting to be answered, especially now Providence is starting to link in with Moore’s previous Lovecraft inspired work, Neonomicon.

It does look as if Black’s story is going to end very, very badly. We’ll hopefully get #11 sooner rather than later to find out…

What I thought of Crossed +100 #17

Thoughts about #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9,#10#11#12#13#14#15 and #16.

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Here we all are at the penultimate issue of Crossed +100. Things moved quickly last issue as it felt like Si Spurrier had to compact some storylines up so #16 felt amazingly fast paced and #17 starts with Future leaving her friends and having a daydream..

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Future has some guilt issues to work out.

So, while on her way home she’s intercepted by Bailey, who knows that Future knows the location of Salt’s followers and would quite like it so he and his men can raise it to the ground.

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Future reluctantly gives Bailey the information he needs, but in telling him the details she reveals her own talent for war and that scares her.

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Future spends her remaining time returning home trying to work out exactly what it is that she’s missed, which seeing as we’re coming up the final issue will be something enormous and terrible.

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War is coming but Future has her own drama to live out as the uninfected take on the Crossed for what may be the final battle one way or another. Next issue is the final issue then Avatar are being coy about what’s due next from them in regards Crossed. There’s still a Garth Ennis story due (which I’d presumed would be in Crossed:Badlands #100 but it isn’t) so the idea isn’t going away but it does need some quite serious quality control, Crossed +100 excepted.

Next issue is the final issue. By then we may have a better idea.

What I thought of Providence #9

Thoughts about #1#2#3,#4#5#6#7 and #8.

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In the month or so since the last issue some friends of mine have had a holiday in America where they visited H.P Lovecraft’s grave and the city of Providence which from looking at their holiday snaps looks a nice place. No fish monsters sadly.

This issue starts with Robert Black finally making his way to Providence where he meets a Mr. Henry Annesley, someone who can see what creatures lurk in the air that’d make normal people fear for their sanity thanks to a special pair of glasses.

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During his conversation with Annesley, Black is clearly blaming his experiences (including I assume his rape) on his lover killing themselves back in the first issue.

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Also, Black gets to meet Howard Charles, another person Annesley is helping with their research.

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All the while the creeping sense of unease that Moore so clearly enjoys injecting this comic with grows and grows, but for now Black seems to have found himself an admirer in Charles and vice versa.

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The pair tour the city of Providence and come across St. John’s Church, a disused church once used by the secretive Stella Sapiente for their meetings in the city. Sneaking in thanks to a broken railing, the pair investigate the disused building while all the time dropping hints about each other’s sexuality to the other.

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In the tower they find the meteorite Black saw hit the ground when in Manchester, plus there’s dozens of Stella Sapiente books in the deserted tower, but by this point the hints the pair are dropping to each other move a step up a gear or two. The stone however seems to be exerting an influence over the pair.

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After this encounter the pair go their separate ways and Black heads off to meet Lovecraft who after a lengthy chat takes Black to visit his mother, and that sense of creeping dread starts getting more and more.

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She can see the strange creatures swimming in the air, and she can also see that Black’s causing them to get stirred up for an as yet, unrevealed reason.

There’s a lot happening in this issue from Black’s seeming acceptance of his homosexual urges, to H.P Lovecraft’s strange encounter this is at first glance not an important issue, but it is. There’s a lot happening here not to mention that Black’s fate looks less secure with each issue as Moore and Burrows set up the final three issues of this impressively literary work.  This really is a comic that’s going to benefit being read in one large sitting but right now we’ve no idea what’s going to happen but I’ll lay on a bet that it’s not going to be good for Black.

What I thought of Crossed +100 #16

Thoughts about #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9,#10#11#12#13#14 and #15.

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Wait ages for issues of Crossed +100 and they come along like buses full of psychotic rape-monsters.This issue starts right after last issue’s cliffhanger where we were led to expect a showdown between Robbie (the intelligent Crossed who helped doom Future Taylor’s settlement) and Future, but from the off Spurrier makes it clear this isn’t going to happen, in this issue at least.

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It turns out the captive Crossed is one of the graduates of Salt’s school of intelligent Crossed, and is seemingly offering Future and her group the location of Salt’s followers.

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It seems this Crossed is divulging lots of information that confirms what Future’s already found in Salt’s journals and is offering to help.

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It seems the group’s new allies, the Tribaladies are not as they seem, and work for Salt’s group mopping up stupid infected to ensure that evolution favours the smarter infected, and that Salt is going to somehow return from the dead.To find out answers Future  finds out more about Bethlehem, a settlement of remaining Christians mentioned by their Crossed captive.

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It turns out Bethlehem was wiped out at the same time as Chooga was six years previously, and that leads Future to discover where the Crossed are hiding as Spurrier presses on the accelerator in this issue which seems to go at 200mph after the more sedate last couple of issues. With only two issues to go there’s a real sense of urgency to get to a satisfying climax and if it’s anything like this issue, it’ll be superb.