"Thith fuck you're having. It'ths a deep one" - Johnny Carcosa
Really I mean it, progress at your own risk.
No under 18's allowed.
|Johnny Carcosa gives hi his Aklo "hit".|
|Jacen Burrow's art really is good.|
NEONOMICON: The story begins with FBI agents Merril Brear and Gordon Lamper driving to the secure jail where Aldo Sax, the unamed FBI agent from The Courtyard story is imprisoned after he killed and mutilated in a specific way two women in his building. As they are investigating murders with similar mutilations he seems like someone they need to talk to. Merril is back at work after going away for being treated for sex addiction which given the events to come take on skeevy implications in retrospect.
|Merril and Gordon.|
The two agents make their way to Brooklyn where the murder squad are holed up in a tenement flat. It's the same building Sax killed the two women in. There are "six other psychos with the same M.O. as Sax..." now. There were similar murders in the 1920's, Sax had the information and was putting a case together when he "flipped".
|The dodgy nightclub.|
Their snitch tells them that Carcosa lives in a flat nearby with his mother, and so the agents make their way there. On the way Gordon apologises to Merril for making light of her problems.
Merril: "Look, it's just sex addiction. It's just a joke complaint right? Unless it's fucking up your life."
They and the rest of the FBI team arrive at Carcosa's place. Inside his flat is a lot of creepy stuff including the naked dead body of his mother who has slashed her own throat. Downstairs Merril spots Carcosa standing in front of a mural on the yard wall. She tells him to put his hands up he replies, "hah, thee I gotta go. I can't hang around here no more".
|Johnny Carcosa disappears on them.|
As the FBI poke around, Merril points out all the references to H.P Lovecraft stories, as well as Arthur Machen and Clark Ashton Smith. Clang! I have no idea why Moore chose to have the in story character's explain the Lovecraft references for the reader, who surely is someone like me, well versed in the man's work and someone who would enjoy spotting and placing the references themself. It's just more fuel to the fire that this isn't a story using Lovecraftian themes, it's an Alan Moore story about sex which would barely be any different if all the Lovecraft references were removed from the plot.
Later investigators speculate that Lovecraft is the link between all the murders they are investigating, but that part of the story - the police investigation - is so undercooked and left unresolved it comes across as merely a vehicle for getting Merrill into the demon rape situation. And in the end Merrill decides actually Lovecraft based his writings on things he uncovered himself in his research rather than drawing on his own imagination, so there's that.
Gordon and Merril travel there and start to get dressed for the part in their hotel room. As they change they discuss Lovecraft's work. Gordon says he skimmed the books and thinks "the guy can't write". Merril sort of agrees but whoever is doing the murders "they like his writing just fine".
Merril: "It's like, see, Lovecraft himself. He liked blurring the line between what was real and his invented stuff. So do his followers, and so does whoevers behind all this."
After more chat about his work, Merril and Gordon brings up the fact the books had "plenty of racism. No fucking". Because fucking is important yeah?
|Look nerds, titties!|
They agree and with a few hours to kill before it takes place, Merril says she is going to read the occult literature she bought so she can "get inside the heads of these people." Later that night they return to the shop and are lead down a secret passageway to a pool full of cold sea water.
Her cover blown, Merril says she is with the FBI and they know where she is. The cultists just laugh and say even she doesn't know where she is. Then they put the gun to her head and start to rape her, vaginally and orally, taking it in turns while she cries and screams for mercy.
|I have no words.|
Back with the FBI, Randolph Carter is being asked about the missing agents Merril and Gordon. They note that they are getting "The Statement of Randolph Carter" in case we were too dense to see that. It's in Aklo anyway and useless to them.
Merril: "I really am a dirty fucking whore. My pussy is wet right now."
Johnny: "That'th becauthe thomething'th thcrewing you."
Moore better not be implying that with her sex addiction problem Merril is secretly enjoying it. He REALLY better not. Merril asks where this place is, Carcosa says "Thith ith R'lyeh. R'lyeh ith in you."
|Merril meets Johnny in a dream.|
She is told by one of the cultists whose popped in to check on her that she's been there for days. She is allowed her contact lenses back and sees the monster that has been raping her properly for the first time. The woman leaves food and blankets for her and departs leaving her at the creature's mercy. Merril bangs hysterically on the door crying for help, but the creature drags her by the ankles and into the water where he rapes her. As he does so, a commentary on H.P Lovecraft's asexual nature takes place over the rape scene.
So anyway. The detectives who were discussing Lovecrafts sexuality and how it did or didn't manifest in his work are also surprised to find how much his stuff has permeated popular culture, via board games and the like, you can even buy Cthulu beanies now. This however is not getting them any further in investigating the Lovecraft linked serial murders.
Back with Merril, the Dagon demon is sitting quietly on the edge of the pool. Merril offers him some food, as you do with your rapist (eyeroll). Then he approaches her seemingly after more sex.
Merril: "No! I'm not fucking doing it, you understand? You hurt me doing it like that. I'm sore and I hurt. What the fuck is wrong with you?"
|Rape is bonding I guess.|
She then has a piss on the floor. She doesn't want to go in the water in case he takes it as an invitation to rape. He tastes her piss and suddenly looks happy and excited. He takes her by the hand and leads her to the gate, he rips it away and takes her into the tunnel and dives down with her, letting her go so she can safely resurface in the sea not far from the shore of Salem.
Merril tells her boss about the creature, he says she won't be putting it in her report and that some combination of drugs and stress made her imagine it. She also says she wasn't touched sexually during her ordeal.
The FBI follow the cultists into the tunnels, and find Gordon's body in a pit of quicklime. They also discover that someone else has been killing the cultists too. They reach the room with the pool and find the "throwback" Dagon demon standing over some more dead cultists and riddle it with bullets. Merril comes and looks at it as it floats dead in the blood soaked water.
|At least the cultists get what they deserved.|
Merril: "They had a Gargoille de la Mer, Aldo. Do you know what that is?"
She tells him she was fucked by it, then it killed the cultists and was killed in turn by the FBI. Only she knows what happened between them. She squicks Aldo out by telling him she jerked it off and it tasted her pee. He stutters:
Aldo: "I-I haven't been with a woman. Or a man. I mean I'm not queer or anything. I just... I mean... genitals, all that. It's all just horrible."
|We wind up back with Aldo.|
Merril: "I understood why the thing sniffed my pee and then released me. I understand how the Great Old Ones aren't Old. They're New. They're not even born yet. I even understood where R'yleh must be."
Finally Aldo understands and says she's a "goddess. I don't deserve your presence. No one does." She says look at the human race, it's vermin. But "nevermind, he'll sort all that out once he arrives" And she gets up and we see she is pregnant and she declares her self esteem has never been higher, guess being raped and impregnated by a demonic throwback will perk you up.... if you're an Alan Moore character.
Merril: "It's the end and the beginning. He's beneath the waters now, but soon, in only a few months, he will come forth. And until then he sleeps. And dreams".
|Pregnant! What a twist!|
And he really has the most binary view of sex, it's either beautiful, magical, life affirming and upliftingly spiritual or it's nasty, rapey, violent and degradingly physical. What about sex that is funny? Kinky? Boring? A fun way to pass the time before the TV show you want to watch is on? And all the other myriad types of sexy funtimes out there. Jacen Burrows is a superb artist which only serves to make things worse, like Batman: The Killing Joke, it looks gorgeous but depicts such ugliness as to be deeply uncomfortable reading especially as a woman. I think what also annoys me is the bait-and-switch of the Neonomicon tale, it's not a story that is about Lovecraftian themes, it's an Alan Moore story about H.P Lovecraft's sexuality, big difference. We get some lip service to the larger eldritch cosmic tales of Lovecraft right at the very end but the journey to get there has been so ugly and offensive it's impossible to care And what on earth happened to the story about the cult murders, that fizzled out to no conclusion. When the best promo quote you can muster for the back of the book says about the story "I don't know if it's morally acceptable to love something so horrific" (a quote from Brian K. Vaughan, incidentally a writer with a far more nuanced approach to sexuality in his comicbook work) well that gives you pretty fair warning of what you're going to be put through. Back into the Sin Bin you go Alan and I have no idea if I am ever going to cover anything by you ever again! Love and kisses, your ex-biggest fan.