The bad and the good of the latest regarding Mina Harker and her peculiar company:
Moore’s alternate history in this book is not compelling (“hippy fascism” in the US?)–I thought that Warren Ellis’ Planetary did a far better job of this sort of thing. Unsurprisingly, as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has progressed through the 20th century, it has come more and more to seem like an inferior version of Planetary, which started out doing for the 20th century what The League originally did for the 19th.
Moorcock “crossover” homages? They’re not exciting to me the way they would have been when I was a teenager. Modeling the villain on Aleister Crowley — as was set up in 1910? Meh. Professed Magus Moore either proves that he has no idea what a moonchild is (and has never bothered to read Crowley’s novel of that name), or he’s gratuitously throwing dust in the eyes of the profane.
There were lots of fun little in-jokes; the incorporation of Rosemary’s Baby into the plotline was a nice touch. I couldn’t help feeling that I was missing dozens of cameos in O’Neill’s crowded panels.
The art in the psychedelic sequences is great! I also thought that Moore’s rewrite of “Sympathy for the Devil” was just splendid.
Moore just can’t seem to shake Jack the Ripper, who comes back from hell somewhat anachronistically in this League story, the first of a new series evidently intended to span the 20th century. Best appreciation of this number will be afforded by prior familiarity with the earlier volumes of Extraordinary Gentlemen, as well as some of the sources for Moore’s baroque metafictional weave. In particular, Aleister Crowley’s novel Moonchild provides critical background.
I found the singing narration from incidental characters—with an interminable Bertolt Brecht riff—a little tiresome, but O’Neill’s art is in top form, and the whole piece should be enjoyable to anyone who has liked the earlier comics. (The dismal movie should not be considered an element of the ouvre.) As usual with the League, some of the tastiest material is in the non-comic-book appendix stories. Evidently, Moore can’t keep himself from writing more tales than any artist can be expected to keep up with! [via]
The Nemo spinoff of Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic continues to be more engaging than the vertebral books in the Century arc. The eponymous Roses of Berlin are two female foes for the more mature Nautilus captain Janni, and Moore makes 1930s Berlin into a riff on Lang’s Metropolis.
Some readers may be put off by the many pages of untranslated German dialogue. My German, though rusty, enabled me to catch a few jokes that would have been lost on a strictly monolingual audience.
Kevin O’Neill’s art is in good form, and delivers a sense of dystopian epic in some sprawling panels. [via]
I was reminded once or twice while reading this book that Warren Ellis’s Planetary is a more effective 20th-century version of Alan Moore’s 19th-century League of Extraordinary Gentlemen than the latter’s own actual later League books are. Still, I enjoyed Nemo: Heart of Ice. It’s a beautiful hardcover on heavy stock at the price you might pay for a small trade-paper collected volume. The colors are especially beautiful, bringing out O’Neill’s art to great effect.
The story is both a sequel to Verne’s 20,000 Leagues under the Sea (with Nemo’s daughter Janni as the captain of the Nautilus, as established elsewhere in the League continuity) and a prequel to Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, all wrapped up in “science hero” competition and animosity. It’s a quick but enjoyable read, and makes a curious little annex to the sprawling series by Moore and O’Neill. [via]