State of the Multiverse 39
If like me, you have enjoyed movies such as In The Mouth Of Madness and Dagon; then you are probably familiar with the works of H.P. Lovecraft.
A truly dog-eat-dog model of the universe, it is a dark and nihilistic universe, that leaves a stain on your soul the more exposure to it you receive. A stain that is strangely seductive.
If like me, you have enjoyed movies such as In The Mouth Of Madness and Dagon; then you are probably familiar with the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Despite the difficulty in actually getting hold of one of his books, Lovecraft is well known for the cosmology that has influenced modern day writers in science fiction and fantasy, from the works of Grant Morrison to even appearing in Virgin’s New Adventures Of Doctor Who (in White Heat for example). He painted a hostile universe, where the gods only exist to prey upon mortals, and leave the sanity of their worshippers in tatters if they catch but a glimpse of whom they serve.
A truly dog-eat-dog model of the universe, it is a dark and nihilistic universe, that leaves a stain on your soul the more exposure to it you receive. A stain that is strangely seductive, we keep watching the movies, reading the books and their offshoots, and we demand quality stories from them.
H.P. Lovecraft’s writing style is one that cannot be repeated. It is wordy, adjective heavy, and to attempt to copy his style will only ever produce a cheap copy, that produces a sensation of nails scratching down a chalkboard louder than an idiot-god’s burbling. Yet it is the content that was and remains his strength, and it is a challenge for a writer to convey that sense of everything you hold dear being undermined and perverted.
Why do we like this stuff? I have no idea, but we know it takes more than a preponderance of unpronounceable multi-syllable names to generate a story that will reawaken that stain.
Finally, Marvel have done this, with Realm Of Kings #1 from last week. Previous attempts, such as the obvious homage of Shuma-Gorath, as seen in the second volume of Strange Tales, have not reached the heights delivered to us by the capable hands of Dan Abnett. His darker twist on science fiction in comics is one I have always enjoyed (I highly recommend you to pick up his The Legion series as a perfect example) and the Marvel Cosmic has produced some excellent stories these past few years with his contributions.
Now to the plot. Former Protector Of The Universe Quasar travels through the Fault to explore what is at the other end, and encounters a universe fallen to the Elder Gods, and a team of Avengers in service to the Many-Angled Ones. The whole concept of angles is prevalent in Lovecraft, and you can see echoes of this in the Hellraiser mythos as well. Ever had an attic bedroom with a sloping roof? Not after you’ve read Lovecraft you won’t. But to see what has become of some of characters under such powers was a true surprise, and that is one of Abnett’s gifts. He actually made me exclaim out loud, when I realised the fate of one Marvel mainstay.
So, scared down to his very soul and now once more flesh and blood, Quasar has returned with dire warnings of doom. Still, his new body was created in the diseased universe, can it be trusted?
As much as I like Wendell, I imagine not. With infections like the Creed Of Flesh of the Marvel Zombies, or the technorganic plague that has raised its head once more in X-Necrosha, do we really need a new earth-threatening infection running around the mainstream earth?
Oh hell, yes!
Realm Of Kings:Inhumans #1 was quite the disappointment in comparison, but if the one-off special is anything to go by, then I will follow these mini-series religiously. The demise of the Magus is now forgiven, this is far more exciting. However, reading the solicitations for today, I’m not sure the Guardians Of The Galaxy have seen the last of him.
Realm Of Kings does not seem to have a definite structure yet, we cannot even be sure that the Many-Angled Ones are the threat. We have seen Mindless Ones, Monarch Starstalker and of course the Magus. The potential is limitless, and I find myself hoping the Fault will be around for a few more years to come. Realm Of Kings may well be just the story of Vulcan and Black Bolt, conspicuous by their absence so far. Six issues are surely not enough to deal with the rest of what’s out there.