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League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century 1910 review

If, like me, you've been disappointed by recent comic book movies and by the standards in mainstream comics in general, you'll appreciate a work which reinvigorates your love for the medium and provides fresh material for what comics can do. I'd advise you to pick up LOEG Century 1910 when it's out next month, because it does all of the above.


This first and standalone chapter of the series third volume sees Moore and O'Neill's team of literary heroes and adventurers embroiled in the various strands of a plot involving the coronation of King George the Fifth, the return of a vicious serial killer, Captain Nemo's daughter's arrival in London, and occult machinations.
Mina Murray, acting as team leader alongside Allan Quatermain junior (see The Black Dossier), Orlando the gender-swapping immortal, Carnacki the ghost finder from William Hope Hodgson's stories, and A.J. Raffles investigating the forbidding visions of a coming diasaster around the docklands of the east-end. On an island stronghold in the South Seas, a young woman named Janni wants to flee a destiny she's conflicted about, while newspapers report several murdered prostitutes leading to speculations about Jack the Ripper.
For this installment, the change of publishers, along with both creators' progressive outlook on the series, has meant that the reader is treated to a new and exciting version of the league. Moore uses incidental dialogue, intercutting scene shifts and, most impressively, musical numbers to immerse us in an Edwardian world of foggy docks, decadent occult clubs, rowdy and unsettling hotel pubs and an atmosphere of impending crises.
The characters have got to contend with tensions within the team, with the vain and boastful immortal Orlando chaffing uneasily with Mina's prim authoritarian approach, or the stiff upper lip Carnacki. New characters, such as the time traveller Andrew Norton add a great charge to events while sowing the seeds for the over-arching narrative. There's a sense of broader themes, subtext and more literary pace along with the more action driven material, suiting the nature of the strip very well.
In one scene, a brutal murder takes place to  verse of Mac the Knife, it is as shocking as some of the murders in From Hell, made all the worse by the jaunty tune accompanying it.
Kevin O'Neill's artwork is outstanding, handling every shift in tone from action to atmosphere to moments of mourning with deftness and verve. The population of the docks are like something out of a period satirical illustration, figures based on Aleister Crowley or Louise Brooks ring true, and numerous small touches in the backround and London architecture make you feel that this is a fully realised world, in which anything might happen.


All in all, the devastating impact and moral points of this chapter's climax leave you keyed up and looking forward to more in this unpredictable and richly layered volume of an incredible comic series.Top hats off to Moore, O'Neill, Knockabout, Topshelf and the return of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.


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