Overview

Necronomicon #2

Review

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Necronomicon #2

Credits

  • Words: William Messner-Loebs
  • Art: Andrew Ritchie
  • Inks: Andrew Ritchie
  • Colors: Andrew Ritchie
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: BOOM! Studios
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Oct 8, 2008

It’s good to see the memorable name of Messner-Loebs on the cover of a comic again. I grew up reading the writer’s Spider-Man and Wonder Woman titles back in the day, so it’s great to see him getting the kind of exposure he deserves once more. The second issue of BOOM! Studio’s Necronomicon title is an unusual property for the writer, but he brings his well honed skills to the fore. For those for whom the tile doesn’t sound familiar (say, from the Evil Dead films), no it’s not a Con for zombies. Necronomicon is the name of an ancient and powerful book of the dead, or as it’s explained here a book of “ancient wisdoms.” It’s a bad book. Like The Da Vinci Code.

Arabian student Henry Said is about to find out just how bad. After arriving in Massachusetts, he becomes the central character in this story as he, along with friends Maxey and Rachel attempt to translate it for their professor. Naturally, weird stuff starts to happen. All this is relayed in the introductory pages via Henry’s letter to his father, so if you missed last issue, fear not. It’s an old-time tale that can be easily understood.

Said is having trouble translating the book, or even knowing what its original language was so he, and football star Maxey travel to a rundown house, the sort so popular in horrors, to see Wilber Whateley for assistance. It’s obvious in Whateley’s brief appearance that the book has affected him, and now he resembles something close to an Amish goat man.

Wakeley’s not the only strange looking fellow in this title. Even background characters unaffected by the mysterious tome look slightly off-centre. The three young students are the only normal looking people in the entire book, which just heightens the encroaching danger upon them. Necronomicon is set in 1924 and having Rachel talk about her Jewish people, plus all the fashions of the day, really make it seem like it’s a bygone era. Plus, setting any vaguely horrific story in the past is always a smart move. Any story set decades ago seems unfamiliar and haunting, and artist Andrew Ritchie does a garishly splendid job of making every panel work. He’s the best choice for this series as his light pencils and simple colour choices add a dimension of chills to what would be a far less scarier product in anyone else’s hands. For those who saw his work on last year’s Pieces For Mom one-shot, with Steve Niles, you will appreciate the creepiness that he brings to the page. It almost has the feel of a sun bleached pages from an 80s comic, with plenty of black and odd facial expressions thrown in for good measure. It’s obvious that his aim is to heighten the mood with every piece of art, and he succeeds.

The only downside in this story is when Henry and Rachel visit the genuinely helpful Prof. Angell. Upon leaving his house at night it begins to rain, and the pair seek shelter in an abandoned house. This turn of events can be seen in almost every Scooby Doo episode, and is a tad predictable for a horror title. However as the pair sleep, Henry has some dreams/visions/hallucinations of an ancient monk/warrior and his various journeys. This sequence is perhaps the highlight of the issue and it remains to be seen if anything will come of it. The meandering narrative and complex directions in these few pages bring to mind the work of Alan Moore.

The fact that our three young protagonists don’t really seem fazed by the events surrounding them just serve to make it even more unsettling, and you just know someone’s going to die a horrible death soon. This issue is a slow burn, with minimal action, but it is a well crafted package, with writer and artist working in tandem to craft an eerie journey down a dark path..

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