Monday, 21 April 2014

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Nemo: Roses of Berlin

When I first picked up the comic The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 1999 little did think that I would still be buying related issues 15 years later, now I don’t know if that’s a testament to Alan Moore’s writing or my collecting compulsion in truth its probably a little of both. Either way 15 years on I find myself reading the latest tale set in the Leagues universe, like the last book Nemo: Heart of Ice this tale centres around Janni Dakkar the daughter of Captain Nemo who now commands the Nautilus. Things however have moved on from the last book by around 20 years, Janni is now married to the Nautilus first hand Jack and they now have a daughter called Hira together.


But as much as life changes it remains the same and the Nautilus crew are still sailing the seas plundering ships where they can. Something which has brought them to the attention of the German high command so much so that they bring down the airship carrying Hira and her husband Armand Robur, who I am guessing is the son of Jean Robur (Master of the Air or Master of the World) all of which leaves Janni and Jack no choice but to go to the heart of the German empire on a rescue and revenge mission. It’s a mission that brings them into contact with Fritz Lang’s robot both skinned and un-skinned (you really need to read it), mindless sleeping foot solders which is surely a metaphor for solders blindly following orders and a brothel where almost anything goes. As you would expect the rescue doesn't go quite to plan and as I didn't expect we loose a main character along the way, however you don't have time to dwell upon the loss as the action flows from page to page. The story culminates with a final Kill Bill style showdown between Janni and her seemingly immortal enemy from an earlier book, with the final page showing exactly why Janni is Nemo's daughter.

As with all League books there is so much going on it takes several reads and close scrutiny of panels to capture everything that is put in for your enjoyment, what is a first for me were the pages of dialog entirely in German no translations in Mr. Moore’s books to make life easy for the reader. 

The art of Kevin O’Neill is the perfect fit for this type of story as in previous books, where Kevin does excel himself is in the great depth and detail he puts into Berlins Metropolis style city. He also doesn’t pull any punches in the more graphic depictions shown within the book, and right from the start you know it’s defiantly not a book for the younger comic reader.

At 50 odd pages long this hardback graphic novel seems to be the perfect fit to continue on with the world Alan Moor has created for the League and it associates, I for one would be happy for it to remain in this format as long as we continue to get stories as good as this.