The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century 2009 by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Kevin O’Neill
Published by Top Shelf
To be frank the last two books I’ve reviewed by Alan Moore haven’t been the greatest damn things I’ve ever read. That would be okay for any other writer but not okay for Alan Moore, world’s greatest living writer. (I actually think that. It’s his whole body of impressive filmable works by the way that makes the case for me…)
Alan gets back on track with this latest League installment, which actually isn’t that expensive at $9.99 softcover. The thing is I’m fairly certain I only understood half of it but there was an element that reappeared from most of Moore’s work: I wanted to know how it ended. I found myself racing through it. It’s routinely brilliant.
It’s almost impossible to synopsize but it features the Anti Christ and a very long and pointed commentary about the Harry Potter universe of all things, which is funny because Alan Moore is a much better writer than J.K. Rowling, who I could only describe at best as being “proficient”. It might also feature an appearance by Mary Poppins as “God”. I don’t quite understand what’s happening with Prospero. I guess the main question I have, and he made allusions to the Harry Potter universe in the last book, is how can he write about these characters legally? Of course, most of the characters are killed and Hogwarts looks like some butcher’s house with little kids. Here’s a scene:
Bottom line: This was visually extravagant and fun to read although I’m certain I missed, or failed to comprehend, significant bits of it. So far, even though I have read and studied the background pieces in Watchmen (The Hollis Mason Memoir, the Ozymandius interview…) I have not yet tackled and studied the background pieces in the League stories. I leave that to Mr. Nevins…I find these background sessions to be written about as accessibly as “Finnegan’s Wake”, something else I never finished.
Here’s a paragraph for you:
“The erstwhile music teacher was still wondering if Selwyn Cavor had ever anticipated that one day women would fight over his body when a perturbation at the corner of her vision captured her attention. The horizon to the south, though icy cold, seemed suddenly to shimmer as if through the curtain of a heat haze. A black, teeming heat haze. Maza too had noticed this phenomenon and called out to her sister monarch Mysta, mounted on the head of the assembled reptile-riders., in a language that to Mina’s ear had vowel-sounds and inflections that were very similar to Cantonese. As Mysta passed on these instructions to the mounted warriors about her, her blonde sibling turned back to their otherworldy guests and with her eyes as sere and unforgiving as an arctic winter offered a translation: “Be at once to arms. To arms, and to the death. They’re coming.”
So I didn’t read that. Nonetheless, 4.78 out of 5 stars. Just one of the most talented writers, ever.
Related: Now, I am no Jess Nevins, professional Moore annotator and my arch nemesis because he’s just so soooo much better at it than I am but I did notice these things.
Page 4: Before the comic even begins we get a Kickstarter like page featuring Alan Moore and the artist Kevin O’Neill I presume. Its called “KreditKrunch”. Here’s a friendly note to Alan: He could raise about a 100 grand easy on Kickstarter if he chose to. In fact, I wish he would do Motion Comics for the first 11 issues of “Promethea” and ask for $100 grand or more to do it because he would get it, probably within minutes. Here’s a pic:
P 17: I think this is a roomful of Bonds but I’m not absolutely sure. Here’s the thing Kevin O’Neill is a wonderful artist but because he’s so cartoony you’re not entirely sure who he’s trying to represent. Okay, looks like a very old Roger Moore carrying a clipboard. A woman who is probably Moneypenny looking up at somebody. Looks like older and newer Moneypennys possibly. The newest Daniel Craig Bond seems to be portrayed. They’re referred to as “J3″ (Let’s see: The third Bond was Moore.) and “J6″, that would be the newest blonde Bond.
P 18: They introduce a character known as “Mother”, which means we’re mixing Bond lore with Steed and Mrs. Peel Avengers lore. Very nice. And it looks like “Mother”, head of operations for the Avengers, is played by Mrs. Peel, or Diana Rigg, who is slated to make an appearance in next year’s “Game of Thrones”. The picture in the background is the Sean Connery Bond. Why not. On page 19 there’s a smal picture of John Steed.
P 34: A cheap tv reference? Looks like a poster for a dumb looking movie by 30rock’s Tracy Jordan called “Who Dat Ninja”. I can’t believe that Alan Moore watches tv. There is also another tv protagonist from “Heroes”, namely Hiro, who also does a lot of teleportation and time jumping. I think that’s one of the Dr. Whos beside him but I’m just not sure. Need more hints here Kevin..
Okay, there are many many more. Or you can cheat and see what Jess Nevins says. His work may be slightly better.
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