Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Doom Patrol Book 1: Brick by Brick (Young Animal #1-6)

"Friends help you write the fiction you want to be...by looking in you heart and seeing the truth inside" - Casey Brinke

So I should do some DC rebirth stuff right?  Let's check out the new Doom Patrol series.  I have covered Doom Patrol before, here and here.  It was the Keith Giffen run that was cancelled when the New 52 debuted.  Although the Doom Patrol was still in existence during that dark period it didn't have a comic of its own until this one, which is about version six of the team. The Doom Patrol has had a many shifting line-up over its various incarnations since it's inception in the '60s.  This one draws very heavily from the hyper-surreal and much loved Grant Morrison run.  I'll talk more about the old characters as they are reintroduced into this story.  The Doom Patrol has always been an interesting wrinkle in the oh so perfect heroism of the DC Verse.  A group of shunned and screwed up characters, alienated from wider society and also the superhero community and lead by a genius who uses a wheelchair.  And it's not an X-Men ripoff, it actually debuted a few weeks before the first X-Men comic.  Just one of those weird examples of synchronicity life sometimes throws up. The writer is Gerard Way who appears to be in a popular beat combo "My Chemical Romance".  I know nothing about them apart from the fact it's the favourite band of Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way, erstwhile star of the infamous Harry Potter fanfic "My Immortal."  But I don't think I can blame him for that.  Art is by Nick Derington and Tom Fowler and spoilers, I LOVE it.  I'll gush more in the conclusion as we get underway with DC's new Doom Patrol on the mature readers label, "Young Animal".

We begin with new character Casey Brinke driving an ambulance at high speed while paramedic Samson is in the back reassuring their patient that he won't be dying just yet. After delivering the patient we then enter Casey's thoughts, her name is Casey Brinke "and I only want to do good things".  Her mother told her to be a bright light in a black hole just before she flew into the sun.

Casey: "So I stay bright... I stay white hot... I know this inside and out.  I'm new to the unit but I've been doing this as long as I can remember... which I think is a very long time.  I can't tell.. I'm tired but not jaded."

She plays an old Space Invaders type arcade machine while Sam eats a gyro (appears to be a type of wrap).  He notes that she's really into that old machine, as she plays she thinks how you see things on this job "that make you want to put your brain through a car wash.. but I'll still hold your hand." In the ambulance she's everything, in the ambulance "I'm home."
Samson and Casey.
Sam says she should meet his son Lucius, "he's weird like you."  Apparently Casey likes to spin stories like her prom being attacked by phantahawks and her date turned into a pool of lavender membrane.  Sam says he's all Lucius has got, his mother joined a cult four years ago.  He then waxes philosophical about the gyro, a "beautiful, colourful, multilayered spiral."  What's going on in there he wonders, "just a whole world buzzing along... going about its daily rotation.  Time might make no sense if you're living in the gyro."

Casey thinks maybe they are all inside someone else's gyro.  Sam tosses what's left in a bin saying they could be, or it could be nothing at all.  Then we enter the gyro, there a hooded figure fights his way to a control room.  He removes his hood to reveal Cliff Steele, member of the Doom Patrol since day one, a living brain in a robot body.  He smashes his fist on a button labelled "launch" and he comes exploding out on the bin, just as Casey and Sam are called away to a hit and run.

In a derelict building a hobo is checking bricks saying "Danny.  Is that you?  Is that you?  Give me a sign Danny... give me a sign."  He yells out Danny's name then slumps to the floor asking to be left alone.  Then we get a page entitle "What's going on with Niles Caulder".  He's the wheelchair bound genius behind the Doom Patrol.   He's playing on some synthesizers.

Casey and Sam are where they were called too but nothing is there.  Over the radio she hears a new voice saying random stuff and that she can call her "Em".  Her new voice from beyond.  Then they spot Cliff staggering along behind them and he gets hit by a lorry which smashes him to bits.  Casey starts gathering up the parts while Sam wonders what they'll tell dispatch.
The Vectra and the Gloams.
Time for some bad guys. In an executive boardroom are two sets of aliens.  One lot are lumpy humanoids, the other angular, red and black faced ones.  The angular alien says that they are introducing a whole new "mentally healthy meat menu" to all its locations.  It's a big campaign with multi-media tie-ins and charitable proceeds. The lumpy aliens say "fuck charitable proceeds!  People want flavour!  People want the kind of disgusting they can afford!"

The angular alien says they have found an "unending, regenerating supply of stress-free meat?  Basically at no cost."  The lumpy aliens say they better get them the meat.  The angular alien continues saying:

Alien: "Our agents have discovered the existence of a sentient organic generator sprawl.  The sprawl is capable of generating and sustaining life die to some kind of spike in its energy factors.  The plan is to locate, infiltrate, invade, and capture the source, then torture the sprawl into producing product.  We even have a whole ad campaign worked out... we call it Danny Burgers"

Back at Casey's flat which she shares with a grouchy man and a cat called "Lotion", Casey has dumped a boxful of Cliff's parts on the counter.  Then someone knocks on the door, he opens it and it's a woman who does a little song and dance routine which culminates in her wishing Casey a happy birthday and exploding her flatmate.

As bits of him fall from the ceiling, Casey says it's not her birthday.  The woman says that never happened before, but Casey looks like she could use a new flatmate and so she invites herself in.  Then she sees Cliff's head groaning and gets all excited.  She unscrews the top of his head to take a look at his brain, then introduces herself to Casey as "Terry None".
Enter Terry None and a dismantled Cliff Steele.
Out in a crowded street a man is screaming "Where is Larry Trainor?" He ends up getting involved in an argument on the street and is knocked to the ground.  Back at Casey's place and she is dealing with her toothache, she pulls the tooth out and finds a very small roll of paper tucked in the tooth.  She reads it but doesn't tell us what it says.

She enters the living room and finds Terry None has completely rebuilt Cliff Steele. Apart from his brain whch is lying in a bath of nutrients.  Apparently Casey's cat Lotion has got attached to the brain.  Outside Samson is calling for her.  Casey shouts down out of the window that she thought they were off today.  But Sam says he got a call and when he left the house the ambulance was outside.  There is a call which demands they come to the scene of an intoxicated man who has been injured.

Terry None leaves and when Caseys asks what she should do with the Robot Man? "Up to you" Terry says and departs. We then get another single page of what Niles Caulder is up too.   He is in a hot air balloon and flies past his face carved in the rock.  Casey and Sam arrive at the scene and find Larry Trainor writhing on the ground talking mad stuff:

Larry: "I can hear a black dog pissing on a pile of broken glass... the city doesn't want you to knoww it hates our guts... but I'm herem I'm not pretending! I'm am the negative space in a negative world."

Larry Trainor is another orginal Doom Patrol member, his body usually is swathed in bandages due to the power of the Negative Spirit inside him.  Sam kneels by him and asks if he can move as the police leave them to it.

Larry sits up saying he was actually trying to get arrested. He gets Larry's dark glasses off and examines his eyes which are pure black.  He says that's new and asks Larry if he's been doing any drugs. Larry says no "I am a pilot and an upstanding citizen."  Samson invites him to come with them, as the cops want to take him away to dry out.  So Larry shakes his hand and comes with Casey and Sam.

Inside Casey's flat Cliff comes around to find he's tied up by the angular aliens who have put his brain back in his head.  They point guns at him and demands to know where the girl who drives the ambulance is.  Cliff says he knows nothing about that, "but I hope you creeps are hungry because you're going to be eating a lot of my shit."
Cliff has no time for this crap.
The angular alien threatens Cliff by stabbing him in the brain with a screwdriver.  But Cliff suddenly kicks up at one on the guns trained on him and it fires into the head of the alien with the screwdriver, then he breaks his bonds as the two aliens left look on in fear and he smashes them in the head.

While on the way to the hospital with Larry, they hear a call to go to Casey's address and so Casey starts driving there instead.  Samson says that they have a patient with a serious eye infection, they should be going to the E.R.  Larry starts telling Samson he needs to get angry, he needs the negative energy, "it's the only thing that'll make the sick and horrible noise go away!"  Samson says he is almost at angry and Larry vomits up black fluid.

Cliff stands in the wreckage of Casey's flat and starts bonding with Lotion the cat.  Then more armed angular aliens arrive and open fire. Cliff goes flying outside through the hole on the outside facing wall.  Cliff lands on the pavement and Lotion goes running off.  The aliens follow and a big brawl happens and he takes them all out just as Casey arrives.

She stands looking up at the mess of her home and says "my place... my cat!  Where's my cat?!"  Cliff and Larry reunite, Larry embraces Ciff in a manly hug.  He babbles that his head is full of bad vibes and he can't think straight. It's the "Negative Spirit." Cliff says he's going to put some trousers on and tells Larry to come with him.
Cliff and Larry reunited.
We then see a black being flying through what looks like a vortex, "I seek the host.  The one known as Larry Trainor." It is joined with the spirit that is "nothing and we are missing Larry Trainor."  The spirit keeps on flying saying "They don't believe me.  They cannot see me. I am nothing".

Later Samson and Casey are in trouble for diverting the ambulance. They are both suspended pending an investigation. Samson leaves and Casey checks the ambulance finding the door open which she was sure she locked. Suddenly a singing voice rings out from the cab.   Casey shouts "What is going on?"

The voice tells her to simmer down and as she crawls into the cab wondering how she can hear a voice when the radio isn't turned on, the voice says "do you ever wonder if you've already gotten to where you are going?"  Then the ambulane disappears and Casey finds herself in a hotel dining room.  A man wearing only a pair of leopard skin shorts introduces himself as Flex Mentallo, he's from the Grant Morrison era, the man of "Muscle Mystery" based on the old Charles Atlas adverts.

Flex Mentallo leads Casey up to the stage saying everyon here knows who Casey Brinke is, and opens the curtain on a fantasy "Dannyland" with a parade of people holding "Welcome Back Casey" flags.  This place is of course "Danny The Street", also another Grant Morrison era character he's a sentient street that likes to sneak around cities putting himself in various places and attracts weird and wonderful folk who are often down on their luck and cares for them, giving them a place to call home. Obviously he's had a bit of an upgrade now.
Flex Mentallo introduces Casey to Dannyland.
Wide-eyed, Casey asks what this place is.  Flex Mentallow says it's Danny.  All of it is inside the perpetual cabaret and it's all inside the ambulance with is "how Danny likes to get around these days."  She asks about the people, Flex Mentallo says that they are all part of Danny.  Casey says they all seem so happy.

Flex Mentallo: "Everyone is happy in Dannyland.  There's no pain, there's no suffering... there is only joy.  Danny takes care of us all."

Casey asks why Danny exists. Flex Mentallo says they don't know, once Danny was a street, he could teleport to where he needed to go "collecting outsiders as he went. People who didn't fit in."  Flex Mentallo himself came here a shell of his former self after being trapped in the "Tearoom of Despair" by the men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E.  Once day those men came back and tried to destroy Danny but they were stopped by the Doom Patrol. After that Danny became a world and Flex Mentallo lost track of him. 

But now he's been found again, "and now you're helping us find the others... the Doom Patrol." Casey asks if she is part of the Doom Patrol.  Flex Mentallo says "you're part of a lot of things, Casey.."  He tells her to take a ride on that boat close by and wishes her luck as she boards it.

Meanwhile in Casey's apartment Larry shows Cliff what's wrong.  He has three holes on his chest and a black substance comes poking out making different shapes.  Cliff comments "that's not something you seee every day, Larry."  Larry says he doesn't know, he has little bits of memory kicking around in his head, he was with the other Doom Patrol members, and he was wrapped in his special bandages because of the dangerous radiation he emitted.

Then something ripped him from the beach, he was pulled light years away into deepest space, "not fully anything... a different kind of nothing." He awoke in a cylinder which was at the front of what looked like a classroom "then there was pain".  He felt like he was being ripped apart and sewed together at the same time.  He went to sleep, he doesn't know for how long and then woke up on Earth, "myself but not the self I was used to.. and eerie sense that something was after me."

Terry None comes in announcing she has free mushroom pizza.  Larry grabs Cliff saying they have to find the Chief.  CLiff says "no way. He's a dangerous meglomaniac and the one who caused the accidents that made us freaks in the first place." He says Larry should come with him as they look for Rita and Jane and the others.
Time for Larry to be judged.
Cliff tells Terry they were just leaving, but she says they can stay and have they seen the cat?  Suddenly Larry vomits black fluid again.  He needs more negative energy.  Then suddenly he looks out of the hole in the wall and says "oh shit... it found me."  Outside is the negative spirit who says Larry must come and be "judge and joined - to become whole in the negative space, X-minus becomes nothing."

The angular aliens have found the ambulance Danny is now.  They followed Casey's energy to it "does she even know who she is?" one says.  They finally give themselves a name, "the Vectra".

Vectra: "...and we are here to ruin everything. We want you to resist!  We'd love for you to try to keep us out.. but eventually you'll have to open up.. and lets us come inside."

And they start smashing the ambulance up. Inside Dannyland Casey is taking a wild ride. She hops off the boat and memories come back to her, she remembers "screaming... through decades like star beams.  Covered in storm, covered in cosmic rust."  She remembers everything all jetfire and peppermint, twilight and disappointment.  Dancing nervously with a date.  She drops atomics on buildings, "these things happen to me."
Awesome parody of a famous cover!
She stops in front of a huge mouth with a locked door in it.  It asks for the password.  She remembers her tooth and says "good job" which is the correct one and she walks through the door.  It takes her into a comic shop, she approaches the back issues and pulls one out.  On the back it says "only for you" and on the front is an ugly alien face and it's called "Danny Comics" with "New inside! Your answers to everything Casey!" as a cover flash. 

Inside is says that she began life as Casey Brinke, Captain of the St. Michael's Children Hospital Jamboree Fighter Squadron in the pages of Danny Comics.   It was an amusement Danny created and sold at the Mom and Pop Soda Shop when he was simply a teleporting street.  She was so popular he kept her around, the memories of that time are still in her head.

Then something happened, something bad. But now Danny is more powerful than ever.  He used to attract people but now he can create them.

Danny: "But you come from my daydreams, Casey.  You're the first superhero I was able to generate. You're made up.  But you're real.  And I'm so very proud of you."

She is the "Space Case" Captain of the 33rd Novafang Starfighters Brigade "dreaded and feared across the six galaxies."  Her day job was caregiver at the Twilight Sun Intergalactic Home for Elderly Care.  Which is why she was drawn to being a EMT and why Danny took the form of an ambulance to watch over her, protect her and help her hide.  Danny says she can call him Danny or Dad and they need her to help stop the ones who have found them. It's time to join the Doom Patrol. Casey looks annoyed then tosses the comic away saying "That's it... I'm out".  Then suddenly a pink furry creature leaps out through the curtains and hugs her saying "FUGG!"
Casey loses half a leg.
Outside the amubulance is badly damaged.  A small hovering Vectra comes over and starts torturing it to get Danny to open up "we will obtain the meat" it says.  Casey is striding through Dannyland followed by the small creature.  Flex Mentallo says that she has hasn't had her powers come back yet.  She ignores him and goes back to the hotel dining room.  Then her right leg below the knew disappears, "where is my fucking leg?!" she exclaims.  Then she crawls the the ambulance door and is grabbed by a Vectra who have broken in.

She is to be restrained and unharmed while the rest of the Vectra enter to harvest the meat, then they'll relocate the sprawl; ie Dannny, for further extraction.  We then get another page of what Niles Caulder is doing.  He is making a robot man with his face.  He activates it and it punches him in the face and leaves.

Terry None relaxes with a book as the Negative Entity grabs Larry's face saying it's time for him to become nothing. Cliff says that's his friend he's messing with.  The Negative Entity says they must have witnesses to this joining.  Cliff agrees and the Entity zaps both of them away to "the Negative Space."  Unpeturbed, Terry returns to her book.

We begin the next chapter with Samson waking up and going to his son's room because he can hear a chant.  Lucius is sitting cross-legged in a hooded robe in front of a pentacle and lots of candles.  Samson scolds him saying he'll give himself nightmares.  Defiantly Lucius says "I'm fifteen.  I don't have nightmares anymore".  Samson asks why he has to be a sorceror?  Lucius says he's not interested on being like normal kids.  He says he's "bettering myself through metapyshical exploration".  He makes a verbal jab about his dad doing karate again, "we don't talk about my karate!" shouts Samson.

Lucius says they don't talk at all, Samson treats him like he doesn't exist.   He says the other kids at school treat him the same, "I got no one there.  I got no one here!"  He says they are not a family, not even friends.  He carries on sayng his mom is never coming back if they don't... but Samson cuts hom off saying his mother is never coming back, ever.  He asks Lucius if Samuel is in there?  Then he says it doesn't matter and goes to help Lucius's grandmother into bed.
The Negative Space.
Cliff and Larry arrive in The Negative Space. The are hovering high in he air beholding the Negative Entity, "N'Hal".  It orders Larry to touch its face and they are then surrounded by lots of Negative Spirits, Larry is to be judged and then "you will be put to purpose".  We then get a page of Niles Caulder spying somehow on Casey Brinke, now in the Vectra prison with the pink alien.  She finds the lower leg of a Robotman and decides she can use it.

We then return to her properly, the Robotman appears to be the Niles Caulder one which explains how he could be spying on her through it.   She attaches the leg to her stump, then considers the fact she's in "space jail."  The is the bearded hobo in there with her and when she mentions Danny he asks her if she knows where he is.  He introduces himself as Ricardo, he's a old friend of Danny's and wants to find him.

Casey says he's on his own, she has nothing to say to Danny.  Then electricity sparks out of her fingers much to her surprise.  The pink alien has an old school tape deck in his stomach.  It tells her she has discovered her "bio-surge" ability.  She takes out the tape and reads the label which says "Casey Brinke Operating Manual Part 1: Introduction To Powers And Abilites".  She puts the tape back in and continues to listen. Using the instructions she shorts out the panel keeping the jail door shut and she, the pink alien and Ricardo walk out.

Back with Larry Trainor and his Negative Spirit "Keeg Bovo", they are told that by partially merging with and then fragmenting the Negative Spirit they have broken the law of Negative Space.  It is about to pass sentence when Cliff interrupts that it's missed a mess of proceedure like the part where Larry pleads "not guilty!"  N'Hal says says this is a formality and that Larry owes them and enternity of servitude for breaking the firts law of Negative Space.  Cliff asks what that law is and N'Hal says it is "do not intefere with the Negative Space".

N'Hal: "By surpassing the limits of man when breaking through the radioactive field, Captain Trainor ripped open a hole in the Negative Space thereby connecting himself permanently to our fabric, conjoining with a Negative Spirit... thus, becoming an extremely important component in a billion year war against evil."

Larry is more than a vessel, he guides the Negative Spirit to act as an agent of balance and they want him to remain so.   Cliff asks what about what Larry wants?  Maybe he doesn't want to be host to a "radioactive space phantom", maybe he wants to live a normal life.

Larry puts a hand on his shoulder saying "it's okay..." N'Hal says he hadn't thought of that. So it asks Larry if he wants to be "normal?".  Larry says no, he wants to be rejoined with the Negative Spirit.  He wants to be "someone who helps."  If he has to sacrifice his body to save one life or stop one tragedy it's worth it, "to burn against the darkness of this universe, I'd give you everything.  Make me the Negative Man".  

N'Hal says that was very moving.  So they will give him a gift, when he releases the Negative Spirit although his body will remain dormant his consciousness will experience an entire lifetime "you will love, you will learn, you will face hardshi and embrace joy... and as you pass unto death, you shall reawaken, born unto yourself.  Fulfilled. Complete."  Larry asks if that would be a dream or real.  N'Hal responds saying what is a dream?  What is life?  It is the tangible marks they leave?  Or the singular memory you gain? "Welcome home, Captain Trainor."
The sad fate of Danny.
Meanwhile Casey Riccardo and the pink alien are on the run, Casey says she doesn't know where they are going but she is sure she is leading them out of there.   They stop as two Vectra go by saying the won't give the "Gloams" ie: the lumpy aliens, the information about having Danny.  When they are gone Casey zaps another panel and they go into a room which has Danny the Ambulance all beat up and with pipes attached to his inside.

Riccardo is gutted, while an annoyed Casey asks if any more bits of her are going to fall off and how do they get out of this place?   She tells Danny she feels used and manipulaed, "I'm not even sure which thoughts are mine and which ones you made up in a comic book".  She says she is not Danny's "action figure."  But she admits she is part of him.

Danny says he never wanted to be a god, he just missed all the people.  They used to come to him sad and he made them smile.  He gave them a place to belong, "free from judgement.  Free from pain".   But he was always hunted, so he left this world to become his own.  But he was found again and reduced to a single brick.  A friend of his called Jane carried him from the wreckage and took him with her.

After a "brief stint as a cabana" (that's from the Keith Gifford run I covered on this blog before) she took him on a trip to see the universe. He made himself brick sized so she could carry him and they flew through space and "we met such fantabulous people."  But one day they were stranded on a planet where he was use to do "something terrible".  When he came back to his senses afterwards, Jane was gone. But he felt more powerful and as he flew through space alone he thought he'd make his own people, and someone to protect them, that someone was Casey.

He tells her that with her help he can travel back in time to before the Vectra captured them.  So they start pulling all the pipes out of him.   She also finds a uniform which she changes into.  Danny tells her to grab the canister of "psycho-gas" from the cockpit, they'll need it when travelling at "chrono-velocity" so she doesn't go insane.   He tells her this will be like driving the ambulance, "only with the added danger of exploding into stardust."  She asks him if he is ready and he says "aside from slipping into a pair of eight-inch heels, I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing."  Riccardo and the pink alien get in as well and Danny tells her to "floor it" and leaving a rainbow trail, they drive off the prison ship and out into space.
Torminox.
Watching them is some Vectra and a tall purple alien.  The Vectra orders a pursuit, but the purple alien tells them he has his own plans.  The Vectra nearest him gets angry saying they can't risk stopping producing the precious product they were hired to get.  The purple alien stamps on him saying "that's it.  Back the fuck up" as the rest of the Vectra draw away, "Torminox is in charge now!"

Casey and co. arrive outside Samson's house and he is surprised to see them thinking she stole the ambulance.   Casey tells him is name is Danny and he needs Samson to pop inti his cabaret, so he ventures inside with Riccardo and pinky and get transported into Dannyland.

Meanwhile in the Negative Space, Larry and his Negative Spirit Keeg have been rejoined.   He is redressed in the bandages that protect others from the radiation he exudes.  He gets dress up, topping off is ensemble with a pair of dark glasses as he is told he will always retain fragments of people he once shared a form with. "Cool" he says.

The beings of the Negative Space "all hail the Negative Ace... Captain Trainor!  Now go forth and fight".  Then suddenly Danny crashes in and Casey tells Cliff and Larry to get inside, both are surprised to realise it's Danny.   Larry bids N'Hal a thankyou and goodbye and then climbs inside along with Cliff.  Riccardo who is also inside Dannyland reports on the carnage there, even Flex Mentallo is dead.   They are tended to the wounded, there are few survivors, but no Vectra yet.

Shocked at Flex Mentallo's death, Cliff asks what the hell is going on. Casey gives him the rundown of what Danny can do now and what the Vectra did to him, but now they can go back in time and prevent in.  Who are you Cliff asks?

Casey: "I'm Casey Brinke, and I drive the motherfucking ambulance."

They get ready to go back in time to the mobile slaughter unit as far back as they can go.  Cliff asks how she is holding up. "I miss my cat" she replies.

This cuts us to a page where a person in an astronaut suit finds Lotion the cat and pours out what looks like dry cat food for him.  The cat nibbles it then transforms into a humanoid form, but still furry with a tale and cat head.  It staggers away.
Lotion the cat-person.
Casey and co. arrive back at the mobile slaughter unit before they started on Danny, but the Vectra were waiting for them and hold them at gunpoint.  Casey asks how they knew they were coming and Terminox appears saying "because of me."  Casey regonises him.  Terminox says that he's also from the pages of Danny's comic, he's Casey's "dad".  The Vectra tortured Danny so much that they broke him and he produced him.  Once he was loosed in the universe there was no stopping what he could create and so he made a replica of Danny to travel in space and a clone Casey to drive it through time.

Clone Casey: "I'm every bad feeling and every single fear Danny has about what you could become out in the real world - unprotected, uncontrolled."

Casey says Terminox is not her dad, they are all fictions Danny made up.  But Terminox says that deep down she wants him cured of the Terminox virus that made me what I am, "as your mother failed to do."  Casey looks angrily at him.

Then Cliff punches Terminox saying "screw this."  Danny tells Casey she needs to enter Dannyland and burn down the comic shop.  She says if she does that he'll cease to exist. But he says that he'll also destroy Terminox, fake Casey and the whole "Vectra Khazi" in the process.   She says that her past self will die and that means she will cease to exist and they won't be able to rescue everyone in Dannyland.

He says she'll be OK, she must go into past Danny with Riccardo and Sam, have them bring everyone to his present self, trigger the self destruct and then get back to his driving seat.   Cliff and Terminox trade blows and more Vectra summoned while Casey brings Riccardo and Sam to past Danny.  The Negative Spirit is unleashed while his body sleeps.  And fake Casey tries to bring him down unsuccessfully.

We are given a one page look at Larry's innermost lifetime. He's an old man on his deathbed as his family say how much the love him and all the happy years they have had.  Then Niles Caulder appears and asks Larry if he can talk to him about something called the Doom Patrol.
Torminox beats Cliff down.
Larry and Terminox keep fighting, Terminox gets the upper hand telling Cliff that a body can't work in harmony with the mind if the body is made of metal.   He starts to crush Cliff's head when the Negative Spirit smashes into him.  Fake Casey holds a gun to Larry's body saying if she kills it the Negative Spirit will go.   Then suddenly out of Danny walks a woman, who says the divorce seems to be causing him some distress.  Surprised, Terminox says "Gloria...?!"  And she says "it's good to see you Dick."

In past Dannyland, Flex Mentallo is unconcious but still alive. Riccardo reaches into the pink alien's front port and gets out some slime, which he then coats his fingers with and plants on Flex's chest.  Inside the comic shop, past-Danny says he is very proud of Casey and she says "I know.  It's why I keep burning bright."  She then tosses a match on the comic rack and runs from the resulting explosion.

Outside Gloria tells Terminox that he can stop all this, they are stronger than the Terminox virus and the antidote is such a simple thing.  Then Fake Casey blows a hole through her stomach.  Then her gun vibrates and explodes in her face.   All the rescued people from past Dannyland climb into present Dannyland.  Casey spots Terminox cradling Gloria who Casey calls "mom".  Gloria manages to force out that she has grown to be an amazing individual and doesn't need them anymore.  And both of them disappear in a flash of light, saying they be watching from a black hole, "waiting for your light to reach us. Not a star, but a sun."
Casey's parents reunited.
We finish this chapter in a black void.  A woman called Valerie is stammering about things she can remember, that she was married and has a son who'd be about fifteen now.  Which means this is most likely Samson's wife.  There is something coming tomorrow which is going to make her something bigger, "the dominant identity.  The Divine Component".  Tomorrow her name will be "Jane". And we then see long time Doom Patrol member "crazy" Jane saying "tomorrow we will all be Jane" as she hovers beside a bomb.

Everyone piles in to present Danny as past Danny explodes in a mess of burning flesh.  The Negative Spirit returns to Larry and he and Cliff get in as Casey gets ready to get out of there.   They blast out of the ship again and crash into another ambulance out there. Casey wrestles with the controls as the prison ship explodes behind them thanks to the hull breach.  They end up crashing somewhere in New Mexico.

They are outside a compound with a sign up saying it is "Janestown.  Church Of The Multiform."  Sam says he's not sure he's ready for this, but Cliff drags open a hope in the fence and goes in first.  Jane is floating in front of her cult members.  She says they have liberated themselves from the encumberance of familial bonds, "today yourselves... from yourselves... and join me in magnificent oneness."  They were all lost when she first met them but now they are scientist and engineers.

The "Gene Bomb" (something used in the crossover "Invasion" which screwed with everyone who had the metagene, Crazy Jane had multiple personality disorder and every personality she had, had different powers) they have made which gave her all her powers will now give those powers to them  and "join in the one true identity."

Cliff barges in and realises it's Jane, and that he took out her bodyguards to get in side.  Casey and Larry follow. Jane however doesn't recognise Cliff and surprised he knows her.   Cliff then realises she is leading a cult.  This makes her manifest a blue forcefield which sends him reeling.

Jane: "I am the Multi-Mother, the All-Jane.  If you don't leave this instant of your own free will.. then I will make you."

They have individuality which is everything they've tried to get away from so leave now.  Larry then puts a finger on both Cliff and Jane's foreheads and zaps them both.  This sends Cliff into Jane's psyche where he has been before and which is laid out like the London Underground.  A train stops and an arm grabs Cliff and drags him inside.
Cliff is sent into Jane's mind.
Outside the cultist arene't happy about this, but Larry says breaking the link suddenly could make them brain dead. Casey zaps a couple, and then Samson walks in saying not to hurt his friend.  Then he recognises Valerie. He begs her to come home, but she tells him they they are getting a gene bomb dropped on them and will receive the gift of "oneness".  Alarmed Sam calls Riccardo and a recovered Flex in the Danny ambulance and tells them they need to stop the bomb. 

Inside Jane's mind, Cliff talks to Jane apologising for leaving her.  She says that's sweet but he really needs to get out.  An annoucement says that they will be making evasive manouvres.  Jane says the personality in charge right now is Dr. Harrison, she emerged from the trauma of seeing a superhuman god murdered and exposure to his blood.  Along came Dr. Harrison with the powers of mind control and powerful suggestion.

She calls herself Jane because she knows that people will like Jane and she needs to connect with people to get what she wants.   And what she wants is to "cure" Jane.  She plans on separating all her personalities into the members of the cult she started.  Cliff asks of that isn't a postitive thing?

But she plans on killing all sixty-three cult members once the deed is done and as for her, "healing is a collaborative act, not a relationship of control."  She accepted that there might be no proper cure for her condition and lives with it anyway.  Can Cliff accept that?  He can.

The other personalities banded together with her to try and spite Dr. Harrison.  Eventually the fooled her into thinking that they had a photographic memory and had seen the blueprints of the gene bomb used by the Dominators during "Invasion".  But it's not that, it's biologically coded to kill the dominent identity, "Cliff you cannot stop that bomb" she says even as Flex and Riccardo are trying to do just that.
The Negative Spirit stops Flex Mentallo destroying the bomb.
In Jane's head, Dr. Harrison finds them and smashes into the train carriage.  Danny starts to fly up to the bomb as Larry separates Dr. Harrison and Cliff who tells Larry they must not stop the bomb.  So the Negative Spirit races out of him and knocks Flex off the bomb as it falls.  It explodes and Dr. Harrison is destroyed and the cult start to come back to its senses.   Samson tends to his wife, while Jane is back in control of her body and Cliff says "I'm glad you're with us Jane."

Outside Danny manifests the words "Welcome Back, Jane Love." All the cultists pile into Dannyland and Sam says that can be their new home if they don't have one anymore and Casey sits in the driving seat ready for new adventures.  We conclude with Terry None demonstrating what looks like she fed to Lotion the cat which transformed him to a couple of executives who are impressed with the fact it's a zero-cholesterol, non-transfat, gluten-free, hypo-allergenic, vegan, all-natural food additive.  They love the stuff and want to get it on the shelves as soon as possible.  "Great. Wait until you hear what it's called..."  And that brings this volume to an end.
Jane is back to "normal" and another member rejoins the Doom Patrol.
I actually think I haven't dones this story justice.  Summarised like this is feels a bit random for random's sake.  but a combination of skillful writing and superb, colourful art makes the weird events flow in a natural sense as the major players of the Doom Patrol are brought back together, along with a great new character in Casey Brinke.  It's genuinely funny in places, as well as containing many interesting hooks for further exploration of various backstories and also future tales like what has happened to Lotion the cat-man and what Terry None's game really is. The art is a delight, as I said it's colourful and the cartoony style fits the weirdness of the Doom Patrol perfectly.  It's definitely the best art I have ever seen on any Doom Patrol run.  Gerard Way does a good job of emulating some of the surrealism of Morrison's run without losing the characters in endless postmodern navel gaing that made the latter Morrison run a turgid read.  I was a tad dubious when I found out he was member of a band that he could handle such a complex title, but the bloke done good, it's a fantastic read.  It's interesting that this has been launched on a new imprint as a mature readers title, hence all the "fucks."  I wonder if that means it'll be self contained and separate from the main DCU.  I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more stuff bearing the Young Animal label.  Hopefully this will run and run, though I seem to be the kiss of death to titles so the next volume will probably have me complaining it's been cancelled.  Yes, my opinion of DC is that low.  But i'll give them credit for now for publishing this series so far.  The DCU needs more fun, literate and I'll say it a third time, colourful comics in their stable of titles.  Check this out, it's good stuff.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Alan Moore Obscurities: Providence Book 3 (#9-12)

"I'm sorry.  I'm so very sorry.  I'm all finished.  Don't go near this" - Robert

This is the third and final volume of Moore's story of a man called Robert Black, a meek soul, who left his job at a large newspaper to tour around New England looking for material for a book he is writing on the beliefs of people that sit under the surface of the mainstream.  This has mainly taken the form of a tour round various H.P. Lovecraft plots until he finally met the man himself at the end of the previous and was invited to come visit him any time. It being the 1919 now, Robert is a very closeted gay man, part of the reason he left the city was that his boyfriend killed himself.  He's also experienced some very nasty sexual trauma on this journey when a mage swapped his body into a teenage girl then raped him with his own body.  Robert has tried to rationalise this away as a dream but it's clearly been getting to him.  In this book he'll finally meet the group known as "The Stella Sapiente" who have loomed large in his investigations so far.  And he'll also be spending some time with Lovecraft too, and as prophecies are fulfilled and the future is written let's see how this all winds up shall we?

Robert has arrived in Providence meeting a man called Henry Annsley who he's been told to meet via a chain of letters from people who know people.   Henry says it's quite the honour to meet him and asks how Providence is treating him.  Robert admits "I've already attracted my fair share of suspicious glances" as it is obvious he is from out of town.

Henry looks at him through magic spectacles and sees pink sea creature like beings circling Robert. Henry tells him not to worry about it.  He is one of the Stella Sapiente, who Robert thanks for being so open.  He notes Henry's glasses and Henry says they retrieve light from the "far violent frequencies and further still."  He also says they have always been open, only detractors say otherwise.
The beasties that lurk out of phase.
Robert says they have a reputation in places like Athol and Salem.  Henry says in Athol the Wheatleys are inbred trash and Salem got out of hand so they disassociated themselves from them.   Robet says in Salem he meet a Shadrach Annesley.  Henry says that's his uncle, but he'd heard there'd been an accident with a lightning bolt, such a shame.

Henry invites him into his home and workplace.   Their headquarters is offically elsewhere, but "the occult is that which is hidden,  Through our science we hope to reveal it."  They sit down.  Robert says the Stella Sapiente has become central to his books narrative.   Henry notes he must have read the occult book the Kitab and formed a peculiar impression of their activities in his travels.

Robert admits that he's "starting to think any peculiarities were thanks to my own mental condition."  He lost a loved one and it's unbalanced him more that he realised.  Henry says that some of their ideas can be disturbing in a fragile state.

Robert: "Oh no, please Mr. Annesley.  Nobody was to blame but me.  Some of the things I've imagined... well, they're just crazy.  I'm very impressionable, and things like the redeeemer propecy are intriguing..."

Henry says coming from New York such ideas could be unsettling.  Robert says he feels like he hasn't been getting the whole picture.  Henry tells him that they date back to 1686 when the Kitab was brought back to America and since then their interests expanded.

His own area of expertise is in "optics and metaphysics".  The redeemer propecy doesn't occupy them, with their view of time it's already been fulfilled.  Robert asks if it is true the order attemped a redeemer the same year they gifted the Kitab to Saint Anselms.

Henry says that sounds like Garland Wheatley's version.  Redeener is actually a rank within the organisation like a Tyler in Freemasonry, "only yokels take it literally."  In 1889 there was an arranged marriage, there order-head's daughter married his protege.  Their child was official condidate for the offical post of redeemer, "it's a purely ceremonial role, I assure you".

Robert says that sounds almost dull. What about the Kitab?  Henry says the book is their backbone, but by 1889 they had other editions so gave the original to Saint Anselms.  They have always enjoyed a close relationship with the Catholic church... but he is cut short by the arrival of a young man called Howard Charles.  Henry has been helping him with a geneaology project.

Howard introduces himself to Robert, impressed that he is from New York.   Robert says he's not as exciting as he probably imagines. He asks about the project and Henry says Howard is a direct descendent of Japeth Colwen who co-founded the Stella Sapiente.  Henry notes Howard and Robert have hit it off, why don't they take a walk, Robert probably knows things about his ancestor that Henry doesn't.

Howard also says he'd like to hear about Salem and he can show Robert round Providence.  Robert also has an invite later to meet someone else called Howard.  Henry tells Howard to show Robert various landmarks and they leave together.
The old church.
As they walk, Robert notes Howard's appearence is similar to to some woodcuts of Colwen he's seen only much younger. Howard says he's seventeen, and has led a sheltered life having hardly been out of Rhode Island his entire life.  Being related to Colwen makes him feel special, "like I'm involved with him and his world."  They chat a bit about Colwen then Howard shows him the "Babbit House" named after the people who live there.  "Things happen there, I guess most folks avoid it" he says.

He then takes Robert to St. John's Church, Robert tells Howard he finds him captivating and wants to here all about him.  We then jump to them reaching the church an impressive red brick building.  It's been shut up for a long time but before the Stella Sapiente were given leave to have meetings in the steeple.  They squeeze through some bent railings telling Robert he and other boys would play truant from school here.

They enter the church and climb the tower which still has lots of of books.  Apparenty the room was for Stella Sapiente's inner head.  Its secret chief.  Inside is the remains of the meteorite that hit the farmland outside of Manchester.  Robert asks what the boys would do here as he rifles through the bookcase.  Shyly Howard says they'd do some "cornholing".  Next thing we see is Robert sodomising Howard over the table.
Sexy times!
They leave the church with Howard saying he gets so little chance to do that in Rhode Island, it much be a "paradise" by comparison in New York.  Robert says it's  the same reason he moved there from Milwaukee.  He thanks Howard and asks if maybe they could get together later.  Howard says he's desperate to fit in and if anyone thought he was "queer" they'd stick him in hospital.  Robert understands and they part.

He arrives at the other Howard's house, the home of H.P. Lovecraft. His houskeeper and aunt answers the door to Robert. Saying that Lovecraft is very ill despite the brave face he puts on things.   He is pleased to see Robert and they sit down to talk.  Robert says his library is astonishing.  Lovecraft says most where inherited from his maternal grandfather.  Robert says that his aunt says his mother was in the hopsital, Lovecraft says he plans to go see her today.

Robert asks if his grandfather ever metioned an order called the Stella Sapiente? Lovecraft says he can't recall if he did but he was a Freemason so he may have.  The aunt comes back in and Lovecraft asks if she can recommend a place to stay for Robert and she gives him the address of some she thinks are availiable. Then Lovecraft and Robert leave to go and see Lovecraft's mother in the institution.

As they walk, Lovecraft rhaposdises about the city.  Robert asks if this affects his stories and Lovecraft says that while "I strive to capture certain local atmospheres, any weirdness springs from my own fancy." He goes onto say that he's been considering pursuing more comic material as a recent trifle, "Sweet Ermengarde" has proved popular.

Robert says it sounds great but stories like "Beyond The Wall Of Sleep" are visonary.  They procure some lodgings for Robert, who says it feels fantastic "I already feel as if I fit in like part of the furniture." He tells the landlady that Lovecraft  couldn't be better as a guide to this place and its history.

Lovecraft: "Oh, I fear you flatter an old man in his decrepitude.  I am but an unlettered autodidact... they I fancy I know this environs servicably well."

He goes on to say to himself that Providence "hesitates on the very cusp of another world... than... this".  Then his reverie is broken and he and Robert leave to head to the hospital.
Lovecraft ponders.
Robert asks how long she has been ill?  Lovecraft says she had always been highly strung but she wasn't hospitalised until last march.  She apparently reported seeing hideous creatures. Robert expresses sympathy wondering if his father and grandfather's death triggered it.  Lovecraft admits that he knew little of his father, a tradesman in gold and silver.

They approach the hospital down a long driveway. Robert says Lovecraft is delightful company, so hard to imagine him as the one who invented the monstrous "Mr. Slaader."  Lovecraft says he should read "Dagon" which is based on one of his dreams.   They reach the door of the hospital, Lovecrafts mother will come outside and meet him.  Robert is to retire to a discrete distance so she doesn't get upset.

 We then get two pages of Robert wating Lovecraft and his mother from afar, she seems to get upset and the nurse takes her back inside.  Lovecraft returns to Robert saying she is a little out-of-sorts.  Robert says she is a lovely woman with a real luminosity.  Lovecraft says she once whitened her face with arsenic.  As they walk away we see things from his mother's perspective as pink undersea-like creatures swim through the air around her and them.

The next chapter begins as we see a strange figure with a row of people on there knees either side of him as we hear on voiceover Lovecraft describing his excitment at treading the same streets as Edgar Allen Poe. The figure mutters "Ylyl yr nhhhgr.  Now is before" then we cut to Lovecraft and Robert sitting in a church graveyard talking.
Lovecraft and Robert chat.
Both are Poe fanboys, Robert says his stories are "intoxicating" and you don't know where or when they are meant to be occuring.  Lovecraft says there is a dreamlike nature to it quite unlike that of Dunsany.  Robert says he was astonished by the "white ship story" Lovecraft had written before he read Dunsany.  Lovecraft says that "merely perusing titles of his had inspired me."  They start back to Lovecraft's home.

Robert says Lovecraft discovering Dunsany must have been like discovering a kindred spirit.  Lovecraft agrees but says although his dream worlds are enticing he finds himself increasingly drawn to a certain realism in fantasy.  Lovecraft then tells Robert he has taken inspiration from Roberts work.  His diary entries "excited" a certain weird mood in him.

Lovecraft: "Before reading your unearthly impressions of New England, I'd not considered my native soil a suitable backdrop for the fantastical."

Robert asks if he is joking. Lovecraft says he's already appropriated the anecdotes about meeting Annesley on his arrival last month, replacing Annesley with the name Tillinghast.

Robert says does he mean going to Annesley lab?  Lovecraft says yes, though "mostrously embellished", he has not named where it's set but it is Providence.   It's all "splendid fun".  Robert says that knowing he's contributed really "peps me up."

Then a man with a top hat and smoking a pipe accosts them.  He is Howard the boy who had sex with Robert, but now he looks older, "akin to my illustrious forebear".  Robert introduces him to Lovecraft. When Lovecraft says his ancestory sounds fascinating, Howard says it is of consuming interest and he's been told of his essential nature.  He's off to meet Annesley at the sanctuary to discuss the festival just passed.  Robert and Lovecraft wish him well and carry on.

Lovecraft tells Robert that he's revealed "aspects of Providence previously unknown to me."  He's made admiring mention of Robert to some of his other correspondents.  Robert is surprised and flattered.  Lovecraft says that he's written to "Loveman", Robert says that's the man who wrote a poem about loving other men.  Lovecraft says he's just writing about the platonic ideal "rather than debase himself with the loathsome actuality".  Robert mumbles, "uh.. y-yes.  Disgusting".  Lovecraft says it's all the more execptional because Loveman belongs to that unlikeable tribe the Jews.

They arrive back at Lovecraft's home and Lovecraft returns Roberts writings.  Robert hopes he gets some more ideas from it and Lovecraft says that the Arab book, the Kitab, alone is priceless. He's already devised a name for the author and the book itself.  Robert asks Lovecraft about his childhood and he says he's always felt that one's background and lineage impart a form of destiny.
Lovecraft as a young boy.
He shows Robert a photograph which shows him with his parents and he is a young boy in a dress, "I confess it rook some time for me to aquire the habit of wearing trousers."  Robert is more concerned with his father, he thinks he recognised him.  Lovecraft says he was born in Rochester, New York. "A true son of mother England", Robert asks him what he means by that.

Lovecraft says that he was proud of his predecessors and warned Lovecraft not to fall into Americanisms of speech, he saw him as a man who "understood the import of ancient traditions." Robert asks that if he was a salesman, where did he travel exactly.   Lovecraft says Boston, Salem, New York and Chicago are places he recalls in his itinery.  Robert asks if he ever went to Manchester?   Lovecraft says not professionally but his grandfather had travelled there before his birth.

He then changes the subject saying that his elaborations of Robert's notions would be passed off as dreams.  He has learned that the majority "prefer that the weird not intrude upon the orderly, prosaic world of their sensibilities."  It is better they think them dreams than have the writers thought of as "morbid and deranged".

Robert says he seems to have a close relationship with dreams, "almost as if they represent a complete other world to you". Lovecraft says for a long time he's been blessed and afflicted with the most extravagant nightly deliriums. Robert asks if his grandfather's folk stories influence his dreams?  Lovecraft says his tales first instilled in him the sense of a New England haunted by mythic apparitions.

He'd recount tales of the things the swarthy immigrants did in the woods, the ghastly rituals brought from their homelands.   The darkness and superstitions in their slum neighbourhoods and blasphemies committed by their scarecly-human tongues.  The depth to which they might degenerate.  He said that if it weren't for certain fraternities "mankind's end would be lingering and ignobly mongrelised."

He shows Robert a photo of his grandfather saying he was a man of many accomplishments, "Whipple Van Buren Phllips". Hearing that his name was Van Buren startles Robert and he turns quite pale.   He hand back the photo saying he's stayed too long and should head back to his lodgings.  In fact he should head back to New York.  Lovecraft is surprised at how sudden this is.  Robert hurridly puts on his coat apologising for leaving so fast.  Lovecraft is understanding and wishes him "a long and prosperous career" to him.
Robert starts putting the pieces together.
As Robert walks through the snowy streets, various things he's been told start rattling around his head as he realises everything is connected,  and that it appears that Lovecraft is the child of the arranged marriage Annesley spoke of who was a candidate for the official post of redeemer.

He sits in his lodgings and writes a letter to Tom the gay policeman he met and coversed with in volume one.   He admits that he thinks there is "something awful in America."  And he mentions the things he's come across like the sea people in in Salem, Suydan in Red Hook, the meteorite in Providence church.  He's sending Tom his notes for the book that will only ever exist in that form.

Robert: "Everything is in it.  I think there's even a way that what's being prepared for the world could be prevented.  Or perhaps it's too late for that.  I think it's too late for me, anyway."

He realises that what he's stumbled into will swallow him.  He wishes he'd never left New York, that he'd never left Tom.  He starts writing that if he hadn't, right now they'd be kicking through the snow in Central Park... then he leaps to his feet saying "oh God.  Oh God."

An eye opens up above him as he backs against the wall, then the lisping man from Neonomicon who was called Carcosa appears and tells Robert that his service has been glorious.  His message has been received, his labours are now at an end.  Robert must rejoice as the redeemer lives.

Carcosa bids him sit and tells him that he is the system by which "it" communicates.  Roberts misery and despair has satisfied the propecy, he has surrended their stories to Providence and brought the good news to their saviour and redeemer.  Robert covers his face saying it's Lovecraft isn't it?  He'll return to New York tommorrow and not say anything.  Carcosa says that his significance is in supplying the redeemer with the things he needs to restore the world to its previous state.

Robert asks how can that be?  Lovecraft just writes pamphlets.   Carcosa says that he doesn't need to know, he simply needs to tell his stories.  He introduces himself as Carcosa and Robert says "you're somehow tangled through fiction".  Carcosa says that fiction isn't what he thinks it is.  By naming something they bestowed an identity.  What Robert thinks of as the real world is a dream that they were experiencing.  They are now in the church and Robert sodomised Howard because the stone absorbs sexual release.
Carcosa makes an unwelcome appearance.
Robert thinks he did something wrong, but Carcosa says the universe doesn't care.  He's not being punished, he's being appreciated.  He's come to reward Robert's endevour and he kneels before Robert and starts to unbuckle Robert's trousers and pulls them down.  We then see why he talks with such a strong lisp, his mouth is a remora like sucker thing, he tells Robert this was always his path and goes down on him as a horrified Robert calls out to God to save him.

The penultimate chapter begins with Robert telling Lovecraft haltingly that something had come to him, Lovecraft thinks he is talking about some insight or a feeling. Robert says "yes, something like that".  And we see him sitting in a train carriage with all the people and other beings he met along his journey.

He arrives back in New York, dishevelled and unshaven.   He goes to an automat and bumps into an older man called Charles who expresses concern at how bad Robert looks.   Robert mumbles that he got caught up in something he shouldn't have and Charles who thinks it's regarding his sexuality shows his concern. 
Robert is a broken man.
Later Robert mails his notes to Tom and goes and sits in the park, head in hands.  Then an old friend called Freddy who he worked with at the Herald walks up and says he looks "like the whole world's on top of you."  Robert says he had a bad time in New England, Freddy sits next to him saying he never thought "guys like you had any woes."

Robert asks what he means by a "guy like me?"  Freddy says he's a handsome writer whose got all the chicks flocking round him.  Robert says "Freddy, I... I'm queer."  This doesn't seem to bother Freddy who says there is no shame in that.  In his crowd of a Friday night if they can't find a girl they would just as soon as go with a "sissy."  He then grumbles that when Robert left the Herald he thought he might have a chance with the woman who worked there but she was letting old man Posey bang her.  He asks Robert about his book, but Robert says he can't put it into words.  They shake hands and Robert is left alone again.

In volume one we were introduced to places called "Exit Gardens", places in Central Park where people could choose to end their lives by being gassed while listening to a record. We see Robert enter the building, sign some papers and sit down.  A record plays and what happens next is the comicbook equivalent of a stream of conciousness as the rest of the chapter tracks the development of Lovecraft's writings, the percolation into mass culture and where we finally meet up with the events of Neonomicon which I covered here (warning, link VERY NSFW).  All interspersed with the relentless turning of the record as Robert's life ends.
The record keeps on spinning.
We see publishers making a decision that despite Lovecraft's old fashioned writing it should be published for a wider audience.  We see Tom speaking to his superior about Robert's writing on Suydam and how he'd like to investigate further.  We see Lovecraft getting married in 1924.  Then Mr and Mrs Suydam being found eviscerated.  Then we discover that many men were found dead and Tom is half out of his wits recuperating in hospital.  The policeman examines Robert's notes say that he was write about Suydam but the other stuff he doesn't know what to do about.  Another cop tells him to pass the notes over to the F.B.I.

We see August Derleth at the breakfast table in 1926, then someone looking for Pitman in the tunnels. We see the F.B.I discussing Robert's notes which they decide to do something about the fish people miscegenation on the Salem waterfront and they go and wipe them out.  More things occur, someone publishes an invented version of the Necronomicon which amuses Lovecraft greatly.  His myth-cycle of his works takes shape, put together by a young fan called Barlow.

Barlow is made a literary executor in the event of Lovecraft's demise.  Lovecraft is next seen being pronounced dead.  We see August Derleth being turned away as Barlow takes all the papers, but his friend says things will all work themselves out.  We see hippies discussing how Lovecraft knew things like the Necronomicon was real but masked things as fiction and we see various people creating their own hoax Necronomicon.  Then we see Edgar Rice Burroughs dropping in on the printing of a Lovecraft story while he decides to use "Kutulu" in one of his own works. 
Necronomicons come into being.
Necronomicons of varying vintages are linked to murders and we reach the present day with the investigation of the "head-and-hands killer".  Every element in this case is linked with H.P. Lovecraft's writings. Neonomicon then happens which leaves agent Merril Breqrw pregnant by a sea demon "Old One".  Since then she has gone missing and her fellow agents can't track her down.  Then we see patients at the Haven Psychiatric facility where she spoke with a fellow agent Aldo Sax who had been institualised after murdering several people and speaking only in the tongue of the Great Old Ones.  She breaks him and several other inmates who were part of the "head-and-hands" murder spree.

Then the agents see on TV the church with strange lights above it.  Agent Barstow picks up Robert's notes which are still in storage at the F.B.I and heads off to fellow agent Carl's place because things are getting crazier outside. Back in the past, the record finishes, Robert is gone.  At Carl's house Barstow  and agent Fuller spot demonic creatures watching the house and they all go inside to formulate a strategy.
Demons watch Carl's house.
Carl ponders that the life of another world fond purchase in the human mind.  Thrift store paperbacks, first editions, "any effective narrative acts as a contagion I guess".  Whatever is happening now it's got printed works running right through it. All Lovecraft's stuff and all the criticism he's been reading and now there is the testament of Robert Black.  If even half of it is true then Lovecraft's stories have been engineered to cause what is happening now.  Especially the Necronomicon, "an imaginary volume that generated several real ones, along with a bunch of screwball occultists insisting it's all true."

He wonders if they can find Merril at Saint Anselms where the real Kitab is located. He says that the Stella Sapiente originated in Manchester and she might be there.  Barstow wonders if she'll be at the church in Brooklyn while Fuller peers out of the window at the watching demons.  Fuller says his family are safe at the bureau but Carl says "I don't know what safe means now.  The world is turning into something else."  They decide to get on the road and make it to the car and drive away slowly and carefully so the "Nightgaunts" don't attack.

As they drive, Barstow says she feels like she is dreaming.  They are on an urgent journey to someplace faraway to do something she doesn't really understand.

Carl: "Dreams and our world are two extremes of a bi-polar reality, that can flip from one state to the other.  It shifted in our favour aeons ago, commencing human history.  Ever since, interests from the displaced reality have tried to shift it back."

Fuller says that their dreams are a vanquished reality and it's trying to overthrow them.  The Kitab was a book transmitted to him as a propaganda weapon says Barstow.  She then says she doesn't think they are driving on a real highway.

Geography is compressed, they are already in Pennsylvania, the "logic is fucked."  How can the redeemer prophecy be responsible?  Carl says there have already been places where the dreamworld intersects theirs.  The Stella Sapiente's strategy was to get knowledge of these to the redeemer via a herald.  H.P. Lovecraft was the redeemer.  Robert Black was the herald.   Neither of them knew it, they met just before Lovecraft's most productive year.  After that Lovecraft's storie came to permeate western culture.

It was so unlikely but no one questions things like the Necronomicon fakes and other writers playing along.   Has that happened before with any other work of fiction?  It's like a religion only "more radical and aggressive."  Fuller notes that they all appear to be taking the weirdness in their stride. Carl says that the world inside them is changing, maybe it's the only world that's changing.  Then they are in New England.

Barstow says the Sat Nav says they are in Massachusetts, "this is what they call Lovecraft country."  She asks why the streets aren't full of people freaking out.   Carl says they are probably swallowed up by "dream detachment" same as they are.   Fuller realises he won't get beack to his wife and kids, Barstow can't recall if she has a boyfriend or not.

Carl says that after what happened at Salem, Merril insisted nothing sexual had occured, yet she looked pregnant when she broke Aldo Sax and the others out of the mental hospital.  He assumes she was impregnated by a Deep One although that's not supposed to be possible.  Only human male and marine female bears children.   They arrive at Saint Anselms or what Lovecraft called "The Miskatonic" university.
Um yes...
Sitting on the front door step is a professor who says his students are inside dancing.  He asks to borrow Fuller's gun and blows his brains out.  They go inside and find one of the escaped mental patients playing guitar for several severed heads placed around him.  Carl opens the door next to him and finds several headless and handless bodies dancing around.

As they leave, Fuller has now forgotten he has a wife and kids. They were told that the "lady" took the Kitab away and that was most likely Merril.  Carl says that it's because of a section Robert copied from it which has a way of stopping what's happening.   They don't know about Robert's copy so perhaps it's not too late to fix things.

They set off on foot unable to remember if they came by car.  Strange tentacled plants litter the ground.  carl ruminates on how influential Lovecraft's Arkham was on American culture.  They decide to follow the street into town in the hope they'll find Merril.  Then they bump into three other travellers. A small man called Mr. Annesley, with two taller companions Mr. Orne and Shadrach.

They join Carl and co. in their hunt for Merril.  Annesley is a member of the Stella Sapiente. He bemoans the trvails their order suffered through the twentieth century, which culminates ih the fact that when the redeemer died he was almost unknown and their plan seemed to have failed.  Carl replies that he can hear what Annesley is saying but he's not taking it in, "things keep slipping my notice.  How long has the sky been like that?" Annesley says it's not the sky, then he exclaims that others have gathered round the manger, "they have waited for us!"

And there is Merril, with Aldo Sax and two others plus some fungal looking creatures.  Merril thanks them all for coming and says that it's time for them to begin.  They make their way onto the bridge with no reason to delay.  She tells them the strange woman is housing an observer of the great race of "Yith". They are cone shaped so she is having trouble with having limbs. They look up at the sky as strange lights seem to be watching, "I think that's Azathoth."
Azathoth is watching.
The other man with Merril is Joshi, the worlds foremost Lovecraft scholar.  He found his way here as they all did.  Merril then starts putting everyone in position for the birth.   She admits to Carl that she knows the baby is controlling her, she also confirms that women can get pregnant from the Deep Ones it's just safer the other way round.  Her baby will be "their heirophant, dreaming of a new planet."

Then Carcosa appears.  He says their world is slipping away as they submit to a stronger fiction.  It's time for Merril to give birth, she asks if she can keep Carl with her and Carcosa says she can.  She sits down and as Carl apologises to her for letting her get into this mess by sending her to Salem, Annesley reads the incantations.  It finally comes out, a small tentacled beast which she holds gently and it latches it's tentacles onto her nipples to feed.
Merril holds her spawn of darkness.
Carcosa then takes the little creature, he has many thousands of miles to cross before he can rest and dream.   Merril says she feels sad, but Carl says it's better the baby goes with them.  Merril asks if the baby will remember her, but Carcosa says he won't, he is barely aware of the universe as it is and he bids her farewell.   Joshi puts his jacket round Merril say "is this our new world?"  Merril responds "I think it's Yuggoth now" as Carcosa places the baby into the water.   She thinks maybe it's always been Yuggoth.

Joshi: "Hm, and human reality has only ever been a fragile construct that we briefly imposed on the fundamental chaos of existence."

Where does it leave them though?  Merril says they have ended up as Lovecraft's characters.  Joshi says that the only options appear to be madness or suicide.   Merril says there is always acceptance, like at the end of "The Shadow Over Innsmouth".

Joshi says he can't agree, that the narrator embracing his fate is emphasising the horror.  But Merril says Innsmouth's protagonist ends up the happiest of all Lovecraft's characters.   Joshi wonders what need this new world for F.B.I agents and literary scholars.  Carl then points to a large cloud with tentacles coming out of it heading their way.

Joshi says that is Shub-Niggurath who Lovecraft described as a cloud.  Merril says they better get off the bridge and move on.  Carl is contemplating Robert's notebook still.   He says inside is information, symbols and talismans which can stop all of this.  But Joshi dismisses that as one of "Derleth's embellishments".  Carl says they could save the world.

Merril: "Carl, I... I don't think that this is that kind of story.  It's not about what humans want anymore.  I think we should go with the Innsmouth tide.  I think we should learn to dwell amidst wonder and glory forever."

Joshi and Merril then walk off and Carl asks what he should do with Robert's book.  Merril tells him to do what he has to do. So he tears the book to pieces and lets them fall off the bridge.  Which brings this series to an end.
The final end of Robert's work.
Well it's been one hell of a journey and honestly in places I have only scratched the surface of what is going on.  Robert's notes are included except between chapter 11 and 12 of course which make up the book that played such an important role in inspiring Lovecraft.  Robert was told from the start that his book would be important, of course why it was going to be important he wasn't told until the end.  The treatment of Lovecraft in this book feels like an apology for how he was demeaned in Neonomicon.  I love the idea of his works being used to allow the realm that is dreams to assert itself as the new reality. It even managed to save Neonomicon, a series I really hated for all the gratuitous rape in it, as Merril gives birth to a being that will become a god in good time.  Robert's ending is very sad, his suicide after realising he's been a pawn in a cosmic game of chess as we are told how Lovecraft's stories and ideas spread into winder culture is effectively portrayed.  Jacen Burrows's art is magnificent as usual, making the escalating weirdness of the final chapter seem mundane which is exactly how it needed to be portrayed. This is a story about stories and the power of words to change reality, as a Lovecraft fan I appreciated this time how he came across as an eccentric who just wrote whatever he was inspired by including the events he read about in Robert's book, which had been engineered just for him.  Robert his herald, Lovecraft the redeemer.  Robert killing himself when he finds out how he was used, Lovecraft continuing on in blissful ignorance.  The final chapter is very weird and it's interesting how the characters choose to live in the new reality as Carl destroys the one thing that could help undo it.  Was he doing it of his own free will?  No one can tell anymore.  This is a really good series from Alan Moore, a real comeback after him neglecting his comicbook work for his boring prose novel.  I highly recommend it especially to anyone interested in Lovecraft and general weirdness in their comicbooks.