Next week, March 29, 2017 (update: looks like it may be the week after: April 5), Providence #12 will be available. After Moore and Burrows’ The Courtyard, Neonomicon, and Providence it feels a bit like the end of an era. Moore’s text version of The Courtyard first saw print in 1994. Lovecraftian elements appeared in several of Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen stories. 2010 saw The Courtyard‘s future spun into four issues of Neonomicon. Then, from 2015-2017, Neonomicon‘s world stretched into so-far-eleven prequel issues of Providence. Alan Moore has hinted that he also has another brief Lovecraftian comic coming in the near future.
For Providence issues two through ten, Facts in the Case would preview what our contributors expected was coming next, and especially what Lovecraft stories appeared very likely to form the basis of each issue.
For issue 12 the upcoming themes are not so clear.
In many ways, Providence #11 completed the circle: Black’s journey – and Providence itself – returned to the point where it began in issue #1, and then skips forward to pick up where Neonomicon left off when it ended. While we’ve been treating Providence as a kind of prequel, there have been hints all along that this wasn’t quite the case.
As Sax, Brears, Perlman and Barstow – all characters from The Courtyard and/or Neonomicon, have popped up toward the end of Providence #11, it probably makes sense to go back and read through The Courtyard, Neonomicon, and Providence to see where we are heading. A very pregnant Brears appears on the Women of HPL variant cover for issue 12.
This post will feature some speculation on what might be ahead – and invite readers to comment on how Providence might end up.
The End of the World? It is not too helpful to expect that regular or variant cover images take place during each issue. (Covers are done well in advance, and often are a riff on a character or theme, not necessarily a definite event taking place inside.) Nonetheless, issue 12’s Dreamscape cover features Cthulhu wreaking some sort of fungal destruction on a present-day (interestingly apparently un-domed) New York City. Cthulhu’s arrival may mean the end of the world. But then again, Moore has ended the world before and it turned out okay. In Moore’s Promethea the protagonist ended the world, and then things quickly came back a little better and brighter. In Moore’s Swamp Thing cataclysmic forces of light and darkness clashed, and the seemingly-doomed earth persisted more-or-less as before.
The Black Man? Though readers apparently saw him commit suicide in Providence #11, it is difficult to imagine that Robert Black will not feature prominently in Providence #12. Given that Black’s dreams forsee (or perhaps “herald”) the future, perhaps the events of issues 11 and 12 are somehow seen through Black’s eyes? Perhaps the roles of the Herald (Black) and the Redeemer (Lovecraft) span across time, in some sort of Moore time-as-an-eternal-solid way.
The Commonplace Book? The one hint we did get at the end of issue #11 was that Barstow thinks Black’s commonplace book may be the key to whatever is happening, or possibly how to end it. The most obvious element might be the Aklo cipher that Black copied, but could there be something else in the book that we missed, some insight that Black unwittingly wrote down which prevents – or causes – whatever happens in issue 12?
Forshadowing? Certain earlier scenes appear to foreshadow later developments. One example that seemed like foreshadowing but hasn’t yet resurfaced are the panels in Providence #5 where Black and Massey are climbing the stairs, and apparently someone or something is looking in at them. Are there unresolved threads that readers have spotted that might be resolved in issue 12?
Use the comments to let us know what you’re expecting in issue 12 next week.