At nine pages of story with a some script pages from Alan Moore’s August 2010-launching series from Avatar, the Neonomicon Hornbook did make me crunch my forehead for a few seconds before laying down the $1.99 in the same stack of bills that bought Joe the Barbarian #1 for a buck, but I really do want to see how this series turns out, and Jacen Burrows’ artwork pushed it up to the cash register.
I’ve been following Burrows’ projects for most of the last decade now, and he inhabits a place between the hard facial articulations of Steve Dillon and the surreal hair-trigger transitions that Frank Quitely can pull off in a way that gives every book he touches a unique tension. That’s something not just any artist can pull off, even when they’re teamed with Alan Moore or Garth Ennis — and it’s a good reason for Avatar to keep him within arms’ reach.
This hornbook preview of Neonomicon doesn’t have any truly spectacular moments, but in as much as the first chapter of a novel can succinctly introduce you to the full product, these nine pages were entirely successful. The series looks like it will be something in the neighborhood of an extended X-Files episode with Lovecraftian undertones and some hardcore grit tossed in as seasoning. It’s hard to get a sense of much beyond that, but I’ll buy a copy of issue #1, guaranteed.