The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910
Top Shelf Productions
Writer: Alan Moore
Art: Kevin O’Neill
FC, 80 pgs
$7.95 US / higher in Canada
Every time I read a new volume of Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – I feel like I’ve just cheated on a test. For the most part – I’ve actually read the source material that he’s using to tell his stories and the latest issue is no exception. For the frame work of the latest issue story – Moore has used The Three Penny Opera, thus Macheath aka Mac the Knife (yes that Mac the Knife), and who I originally believed to be Polly Peachum is actually Suki Tawdry, are singing throughout the comic. For those unfamiliar with the story it might come off as quite confusing but I had seen the 1931 G.W. Pabst film version which was released on The Criterion Collection a couple of years ago. Of course in that film version there is no Suki, she comes from The Three Penny Opera’s original source The Beggar’s Opera. Same story, different time period.
Moore and Kevin O’ Neill’s LOEG started off as a Victorian Age Justice League of America. The team was run by Wilhelmina Murray, the former victim of Count Dracula. The rest of the team consisted of aging and drugged addicted adventurer Allan Quatermain, Mr. Hyde (and the ever shrinking Dr. Jekyll), Griffin the Invisible Man, and Captain Nemo. After two volumes and one crappy 20th Century Fox movie later, Moore and O’Neill continued the series with the graphic novel Black Dossier (which DC / Time Warner refused to release in Canada and the UK because they were pissed at Alan Moore for being pissed at them).
It’s been a while since Alan Moore has had a new comic out – for one of the most respected creators in the industry his output of late has been sparse. But he’s back with the all new The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910. I even recently reread Black Dossier in its entirety to be better prepared for 1910. I’ve read the fine print this time around and all those various extended sections of text pretty much set up 1910.
The story is set in 1910, obviously. After the Martian invasion, the team has been rebuilt, being that they are short a few key members. Wilhelmina Murray is still leading the team along with Allan Quatermain (now going by as his own son Jr. – after becoming immortal by bathing along with Mina in the fire pool of Ayesha, aka She: who must be obeyed). The team is rounded out with immortal sex changing Orlando along with A. J. Ruffles, gentlemen thief (and British knock-off of French gentleman thief Arsine Lupin) and Thomas Carnacki – psychic ghost hunter. The rest of the story has the team trying to stop a disaster that Carnacki has foreseen happening in London – this is the same dream the causes the team a year later to fight the French version of the League – Les Hommes Mysterious and fail.
1910 also introduces the mysterious Diver that is briefly mentioned in the Black Dossier as an apparently regular associate of the Murray team for the next two or three decades. The Diver story is the more intriguing part of the story because Moore works into The Three Penny Opera fairly easily.
The end result is an entertaining story, pretty much what I’ve come to expect from the League. Nothing Earth shaking, but infinitely better than the majority of stuff that the big two have been pumping out lately. (Shane Hnetka)