Wednesday, 20 June 2012

LoEG: Century 2009 - My Thoughts in Brief

And so, the final part of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neil's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series comes to a close, with the intergrated fictional universe coming pretty much up to the present day in the year 2009. But after the unpleasantness of the past few installments of the series, does this one actually good or is it just a rerun of the tropes that Moore has greatly overused in his recent books?


It is better than the previous installments, I'll give that that. But there are a couple of things about it that are unintentionally hilarious...

Minor Spoilers
Okay, an actual review.

The plot revolves around the immortal genderswapping character, and League Member, Orlando being tasked by Prospero to find Mina Murray, who had vanished in the 60s, and stop the Anti-Christ that has been planned for since the 1910 installment.

It is somewhat amusing, considering the fuss that Moore and his fans have caused in regards to DC's Before Watchmen series' that a) the long hinted AntiChrist is OVERTLY Harry Potter, b) it makes reference to the idea that James Bond is an inherited title so they have multiple Bonds wandering around, and c) a being appears at the end who appears to be God also happens to be Mary Poppins.

In regards to the last point, that does actually kind of fit in terms of the overall themes of 2009, which includes the progression of male central characters to female ones. The beginning of the book has Orlando shift from being male to female, and she and Mina are the main characters for the rest of the story, with little actual input from any male cast members. Allan Quartermain, the joint main lead with Mina for most of the series, actively refuses to take part in the story until almost the very end. And in constrast to the previous heads of Mi5 shown in the series (who range from actively villainous to merely being cold and overly rational) the current head, Emma Peel nee Night, is actually both reasonable and actively helps the heroines in their mission to stop the apocalypse. While the most powerful character in the series, and by extention in the entirety of fiction also turns out to be female also.

Really the only prominent male characters are the villains, who through their own devices are pretty much not the apocalyptic forces that the readers and the characters themselvces feared that they'd be. The Big Bad of the series, the hedonistic wizard Oliver Haddo (inhabiting the body of Voldemort), reduced to being an impotent severed head being kept in a birdcage, for example. While the Antichrist himself, Harry, never wanted to be the Antichrist in the first place, and the revelation as to what he was resulted in him going on a rampage that not only prematurely ended the magical education he needed to actually fufill his role effectively, and is so emotionally stunted that when he finally comes into conflict with the heroes that he isn't really anywhere near the threat that they feared.

Is the story really as good as the first two installments? Not really. But there's enough fun stuff in here to make the comic a good read without it dipping into horrid unpleasantness like the latter part of 1910 or most of the Black Dossier and 1969.

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