Alan Moore’s Providence Act 3

Moore recuperates the problems of the earlier issues in this final, clever, Act. The problems in the earlier issues were narrative ones — and it’s pretty instructive, from a writing point of vier. The journalist Black’s desire to write a history of New England occult culture lacks stakes. That is, there’s nothing compelling — either storywise or on a personal lever — driving Black towards his goal. So in earlier volumes theres a meandering quality to the issues, which echoes some of Lovercraft’s own stories, it must be said. Still, the “information gathering” on Black’s part undermines any sense of drive of drama. “What’s at stake?” we ask. This final collection redeems that, by expanding the story out to a more cosmic level, and suddenly Moore’s cleverness, both structural and narrative, shine. He gives us a true sense of cosmic horror, even if many of the references require a good knowledge of weird literature. This one, then, redeems what otherwise would have been a flat story that began strongly, lost its way in the middle, but came through with cosmic grandeur.

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