If there’s one thing a comic involving Cthulhu needs to be, it’s scary. Fortunately, two issues into “The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles,” I think that Michael Alan Nelson and Johanna Stokes are able to deliver just the right amount of creepiness. They hit this through a variety of scare tactics and conspiracy groups, although some work slightly better than others.
One of the best things about the first issue was when Clayton discovered that his sister was being slowly followed by a man that only appeared in Polaroid photographs, forever getting closer and closer until he finally appeared in the final photo whispering in her ear. Nelson and Stokes bring that imagery back, and while it lacks some of the initial “jump in your seat” impact the second time around, the duo still make it creepy when we see that the figure is starting to close in on Clayton.
On the other hand, Paige’s attempts to find out what happened on the Paradise liner aren’t bringing the scary; fortunately, its old fashioned conspiracy theory ideas prove to be interesting in their own right. It’s nice to see Stokes and Nelson exploring the idea of the five extra people on the boat after throwing that idea into the open during the first issue, and it makes the bad guys seem that much more far-reaching as we learn more about them.
I’m not as crazy about Christopher Possenti, who draws the majority of the women in this book (especially Paige and her friend) like they’re men with long hair. (It gets to the point that you start to wonder if you missed a line earlier about Paige transitioning from a man to a woman.) Still, Possenti does a good job with the mysterious figure that’s stalking Clayton and his sister, and the scene with the Cthulhu cultists is drawn in a dramatic, interesting way that brings the imagery to life.
“The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles” is trying to bring the scary back into comics, and I appreciate that. The script is stronger than the art, but now that it’s at the halfway point I’ll definitely stick around for the second half. Creepy cultists and mysterious figures that you can only see when it’s too late? That’s exactly what I signed up for here, and it’s delivering. Fun stuff.