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Fall of the Cthulhu #7

Posted: Monday, October 22, 2007
By: Shawn Hill



“Happy Birthday”

Writer: Michael Alan Nelson
Artist: Marco Rueda

Publisher: Boom! Studios

Editor's Note: The seventh issue of Fall of Cthulhu will appear in stores this Wednesday, October 24. This review discusses plot points of the comic.


Plot: A young comic fan dreams of superpowers. A birthday outing puts them in his grasp, to his complete surprise.

Comments: Does anybody ever succeed in a Cthulhu story? I mean, in fighting them? Their corruption is so formidable, their alien, obscure, arcane mystery so unfathomable, it seems the stories are usually just about new ways of failing, over and over. Certainly I’m beginning to suspect there’s a reversal in the title of this series. We’re not following their decline, as that titular construction usually indicates, we’re following their latest uprising, as they keep falling…on us.

Here the deceptively innocent setting (Wertham was right!) starts off in a comic book store, with a mom treating her son to seven comics on his seventh birthday. Nothing too violent or lewd, though. The store owner, Sissy (short for Sysyphyx, but the mom doesn’t hear this), offers him an extra special gift. Which looks just like a silly trinket from a comic book store, the perfect disguise for the real thing.

Such a concerned mom might notice how Sissy is dressed, which is in a bustier and leather, and in fact the weakest part of this story is how clueless the parents are. It just shouldn’t be as easy to corrupt the willing as it is here. All Sissy offers is sex (to a boy too young to notice) and the possibility of flight (to a boy full of daydreams). There don’t seem to be any flaws at home, no major discord, though his dad does weirdly threaten him at one point in order to allay night terrors.

The trinket is an ornate box, and in the nature of these stories, we don’t see into it. But the most effective page is the one where the boy looks himself. The panels seem to stutter as we watch him look in, and in the final one he asks “will there be blood?” Which means of course that there will be, lots. Marco Rueda really captures the youthful simplicity of the child, though he shies away from the sinister aspects of the adults. His demonic stuff is fine and creepy, though.

In short order Jason is acting up in school, stealing from girls and destroying property. These things always build to a violent climax, and this one is quite grizzly. It’s the utter destruction of an innocent family, triggered by the evil of comic books. I always knew those would lead to no good.



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