This Lovecraftian crime drama deepens its mystery, but needs to add more action.
22 pgs., Color; $3.99
(W: Fred Van Lente; A: Guiu Vilanova)
I like the concept of Weird Detective—H.P. Lovecraft meets police procedural—and was willing to overlook the expositional nature of the first issue, because first issues have to create the world of the comic, including introducing the main characters and letting you know what the rules are. To do all that and expect much in the way of a storyline is probably demanding too much from the average series. But I did like the first issue, particularly the series’ philosophical bent and the way it combined Lovecraftian dread with a modern, urban setting.
So now the second issue is out, and since it’s a five-issue miniseries, we have now seen 40 percent of the total. Unfortunately, not much happens in the second issue, which makes me wonder when this series is going to finally get going. In issue #1, New York City was plagued by a series of weird crimes that defy rational explanation. That’s still the case in issue #2, as another shell of a person is discovered, minus bones and internal organs, in a city park (with a nice Lovecraftian callout in the form of a fountain ornament that looks like one of Lovecraft’s creepy fish gods); the body turns out to belong to Edgardo Nuñez, who disappeared in the first issue. Lovecraftian detective Sebastian Greene is still on the job, and we are introduced to two more of his “extra” senses: prubicka, or mind reading via the tongue, and dasein or becoming so in tune with your surroundings that you can’t be distinguished from them. Sebastian’s wisecracking cat (my favorite character so far) is still trading advice and sarcasm for food. Sebastian’s partner Sana is still on the case, trying to do her job while getting nothing but grief from her superiors, who want to see results right now.
The issue does end on a cliffhanger, which just might get me to read the third issue. Antonio Anzio speaks of the “taint” that infected his sons, and his grief at the murder of his daughter, who was the only family member free of it. It’s not spelled out, but I suspect the taint is something like that described in Lovecraft’s “The Shadow over Innsmouth” and involves crossbreeding between humans and frog-men, or some other type of amphibious creature. Oh, and the last frame shows Sebastian, having been dumped in the harbor, being threatened by a gigantic fish creature.
I do like the art of Weird Detective—it’s a nice blend of realism and the fantastic, with lots of black and dark tones, and a gritty urban feel true to its setting in the underside of New York City. So I guess I will keep reading, to find out how Sebastian gets out of his current predicament, and also how Van Lente pays off the Innsmouth allusion. That being said, I sure hope the action picks up soon.