All Hell Breaks Loose


The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft #4

Previously in this series, pulp horror writer H.P. Lovecraft had a chance encounter with the blasphemous Necronomicon that causes him to manifest monsters from other dimensions when he goes to sleep. Fearing that this curse could destroy his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, he tries to convince his ex-girlfriend Sylvia St. Claire to leave the city, and he goes to a psychiatrist friend for help. Unfortunately, Lovecraft ended up drugged and locked into a padded room. As this issue begins, Lovecraft’s insane mother, incarcerated at the asylum, gets him out of the hospital and put on a train out of town, but he finally wakes up and takes off back to Providence. Sylvia has returned to the university library with a police escort, but when Lovecraft’s horrors attack the library, she’s taken by the monsters. Can Lovecraft save Sylvia, banish the Elder Gods, and escape the police?

Verdict: Thumbs up. An excellent ending for this story, with lots of action and Cthulhoid horrors all at once. I’ve been very impressed with the characterization in this series — Lovecraft, of course, is our standout here, but Lovecraft’s mother is also a very interesting character, and even minor characters like the mayor and the police chief get some moments to shine. And I’m impressed that the wealthy and shallow Grayson Chesser, Lovecraft’s rival for Sylvia’s love, ends up coming across as a much better person than we’d been lead to believe.


Justice Society of America 80-Page Giant #1

We’ve got a bunch of different and mostly unrelated stories here, with a framing device about some sort of supernatural distubance in the JSA brownstone that’s causing strange warping effects and hallucinations. We get stories about the first meeting of the original Mr. America and Ma Hunkel; Amazing Man fighting a monster without his powers; Wildcat Jr. discovering a strange family secret; Cylcone time-traveling to help Power Girl and Wildcat fight Icicle; and Damage hallucinating a nightmarish surgery session.

Verdict: Generally thumbs up. I liked some of the stories a lot, and I thought it was cool that they gave Cyclone, who’s usually a comic relief character, a rare chance to be a badass. But some parts of this were wildly clumsy. We get treated to yet another embarrassingly defensive made-up excuse for Power Girl’s costume, we get very inconsistent portrayals of Damage, we get an appearance by Amazing Man that just underscores the fact that we’ve barely seen him in this comic in months. But that’s the problem with DC’s “80-Page Giants” — they tend to be a place to dump a lot of filler material. And even if it’s good filler material, it may never be mentioned again.

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