Title: The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles #1
Publisher Website: Boom Studios
Writer: Michael Alan Nelson and Johanna Stokes
Pencils: Christopher Possenti
Colors: Stephen Downer
Number of pages: 24
Safety Content Label: T+ TEENS AND UP - Appropriate for most readers 13 and up, parents are advised that they might want to read before or with younger children.
An all-new ongoing Lovecraft-inspired supernatural horror series with a decidedly modern spin from superstar writing team Michael Alan Nelson and Johanna Stokes! A cruise ship comes to port, hundreds are aboard dead – but why? Clayton Diggs is a pharmaceuticals salesman who discovers his sister has committed herself to an insane asylum; she’s checked herself in, fearing she’ll hurt herself or someone else. All across the world, ordinary people in an ordinary world find themselves drawn by fate to see darkness and despair unlike anything they ever could imagine. Meanwhile, a cult makes its move, believing that there is a great one sleeping that will hear… The Calling! Cover by Criminal’s Sean Phillips and Federica Platti!
Equal parts intrigue, mystery and horror, “The Calling” is a modern take on H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. While I have enjoyed some of the Cthulhu stories in the past, I had trouble connecting with some of the miniseries. “The Callling” is refreshingly placed solidly in today’s culture, and the action kicks off when a cruise ship full of corpses runs aground. No one is able to tell how or why everyone aboard had sudden heart failure, but one person prophesied the horrific event days before it happened.
My favorite part of this issue was the reveal at the very end, and writers Joanna Stokes and Michael Alan Nelson set it up beautifully. It had one of those “Oooh” kinds of effects on me when I turned the last page. Without giving anything away, I will say that artist Christopher Possenti used the comics medium in a powerful way, weaving in visual clues in the background that reveal themselves in a surprising way.
As soon as I finished this issue, I had to rush back and check the length of this series, and a smile came to my face. “The Calling” is a new ongoing series from Boom, and this first issue proves that there are plenty of plot threads to keep the story driving ahead.
The real test for this series will be what happens next. Consider stories like M. Night Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable,” Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan’s “The Strain,” and several others. Each of these stories have an intriguing opening act where large groups of people die suddenly in public transit, but the payoff for these stories vary wildly. The idea itself is fascinating in every case, and I hope “The Calling” is able to deliver. The real telling points reveal themselves in how well the creative team structure their opening chapter, and Boom’s team has done an excellent job so far.
Here’s a five-star rating to the newest title I’ve added to my monthly must-read list.