The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910 (Top Shelf)

league3-header.jpgAlan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s Victorian era Justice League enters the 20th century with a new format and a new publisher.

 

 

80 pgs. full color; $7.95

(W: Alan Moore; A: Kevin O’Neill)

 

From the visionary co-creator of Watchmen Alan Moore comes another adventure for the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Along for the ride as always is co-creator and illustrator Kevin O’Neill (Marshal Law), but just about everything else has changed for the League. Now published by Top Shelf instead of Wildstorm’s America’s Best Comics imprint, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century is also in a different format than the previous books: Century will not be released as a 6 issue series, but instead will come out as three 72 page chapters spanning the entire 20th century, hence the title.

The cover to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910 by Kevin O'Neill. Click for a larger image.The first book, 1910, takes place 12 years after the failed Martian invasion of the second series. Not only are we in the throes of the early 20th century, but the League’s lineup has also undergone a few renovations. Gone following the events of the second series are Hyde and the Invisible Man. Nemo has left the League but he appears in the series during his last days, a dying relic captaining an aging ship with a crew searching for purpose. Mina Murray returns as the leader of the Gentlemen, as does Allan Quatermain, although in a much younger state courtesy of events in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier. Orlando, the gender bending immortal from Black Dossier rounds things out both in and out of Mina and Allan’s bed. New to the book are A.J. Raffles, a former thief turned Gentleman, and Thomas Carnaki, whose visions of London’s impending demise set the League searching for clues.

Mycroft Holmes and military intelligence have also heard of an anti-royal assassination plot coinciding with the arrival of Haley’s Comet. Their suspicions lie on an occultist and his quest to create a "Moonchild." As if that weren’t enough, there are rumors that Jack the Ripper has returned to London and is having his murderous fun with the ladies of the night.

While the second series was good but not great and Black Dossier was filled with more hits than misses, Century is a return to form for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and looks to reach and perhaps surpass the greatness of the first series. Kevin O’Neill’s artwork seems to open up much more in Century and his panel work is as stellar as always. When given the opportunity to show off his drafting skills with a double page spread, Mr. O’Neill does not disappoint.

Much like in Top Ten, Moore breaks down parts of the story in song, like a classic Greek chorus. The events, while troubling and gruesome, are given a different connotation when sung by an observing character. Moore really shows why he is the mad genius that everyone claims he is by delicately weaving his plot of occult happenings, prodigal children, love triangles, government overthrows, secret societies, military intelligence and rampant murder into a giant smorgasbord of early century, post industrial malaise.

The early 20th century has brought with it some strange times indeed. | Carlos Ruiz

Click here for a 9-page preview, courtesy of Top Shelf!

 

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