Release Date: 22 April 2009
Writer: Michael Alan Nelson
Artist: Todd Herman
Covers: Jeffrey Spokes, Chuck BB
Colours: Digikore Studios
Letter: Marshall Dillon
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
BOOM! Studios’ bestselling horror title continues with Fall of Cthulhu: Nemesis issue 1. Nemesis (a four-part chapter in the Fall of Cthulhu series) focuses on the origin story and history behind Nyarlathotep’s “favourite companion”.
The issue starts out with a Cat/Lynx type thing making its way through a modern day ruined city neighbourhood. Cat Thing ends up at a burning building, settling on the top of a sign for Arkham Boarding House.
From there, the story jumps back to 9600 BCE on the island of Atlantis. The rest of the issue is filled with some political intrigue and religious mysticism involving the Atlantean king, Levin, and his younger brother, the High Priest and D’Harin of Atlantis, Hadron.
This was my first time checking out the Cthulhu line of comics, and I thought I really lucked out by getting this issue because I assumed it was the first issue of a mini series not connected to any other current story lines. That thought quickly left my brain as I got further into the issue. When certain characters were revealed (the scene where Hadron lifts the hood off his head), characters being addressed by a certain name (Hadron calling the oracle “Sysyphyx”), it started to feel like I should know these people. And I so didn’t.
That’s not to say this is a bad floppy to pick up if you haven’t been following the series regularly. The reader gets to jump right in the middle of a brewing conflict between the Atlanteans and Athenians – and something else entirely. King Levin is trying to keep moral up with his people while rooting out Athenian conspirators looking to cause dissent within the populace (or assassinating the King himself, if the opportunity arises). During the King’s speech to his subjects, two protesters start heckling him about the fall of Atlantis. We soon find out that they aren’t Athenian sympathizers (as the King thinks), but followers of Nyarlathotep, or The Crawling Chaos.
This is when having some Lovecraftian knowledge or the benefit of having followed BOOM!’s Cthulhu comics would come in handy. At the very least, hitting up BOOM!’s website and reading the summaries of the Cthulhu chapter before Nemesis (it’s called Godwar and is also 4 issues long) will help you figure out why this back story is taking place on Atlantis. It also wouldn’t hurt to use the resources the internet provides to get the Cliff’s Notes on the Cthulhu Mythos. I’m not saying you need a degree in Lovecraft to follow this. Knowing who Nyarlathotep is (and why he’s referred to as The Crawling Chaos) definitely helps understand why in a time period when religious cults were the norm, his cult growing in size is a threat to Atlantis and the world in general.
Overall, this issue is a solid start for an origin story. The writing was intriguing enough to make me look for back issues and find out how this all started, and then read this issue again. Not a whole lot of horror in this issue (unless you count the oracle looking like a grotesque hag or when she kills a rabbit and splashes around in its insides), but with Cthulhu in the title and only four issues slated for this chapter the real horror can be held at bay for only so long.
Why is it always a bunny?