Friday, May 2, 2014

Nemo, The Roses of Berlin from Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

I've really enjoyed the later installments of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and this one is no different. I'm continually surprised by Moore's ability to reinvent and keep things fresh. After every League book I ask myself "what more can he possibly do?" and he always seems to find cool new references to mine.

This time Moore goes to 1941 Germany though rather than Hitler being in power we have Chaplin's great dictator, Adenoid Hynkel. Moore has also brought on board the great wealth of characters from expressionist German cinema like Dr. Caligari, Dr. Mabuse and the robot Maria from Metropolis, collectively called The Twilight Heroes.

Die Zwielichthelden (twilight Heroes)  (L-R: Dr. Mabuse, Dr. Caligari, Cesare (in background), Dr. Rotwang, Maria)

The story revolves around Janni Dakkar, (Nemo's daughter) and her lover Broad Arrow Jack having to go into Hynker's Tomania in order to save their daughter. The story is full of twists and turns but the real fun is beholding O'Neill's spectacular views of Hynker's Tomania by way of Rotwang's Metropolis. O'Neill gives us one spectacular shot of the city after another while Janni and Jack run from the terrifying Maria and search for their daughter.

I love seeing Fritz Lang's Maria here. She is the one from Metropolis that stirred up the masses to rebel and destroy their own homes. She is such an awesome creation that it's a shame to not see her used more.

Maria is a classic example of the art deco movement of the 20's that is characterized by it's clean, mechanical lines.

This is the second volume of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen that focuses on Janni Dakkar Nemo, and published in this hard cover edition. The first was 2013's Nemo; Heart of Ice.

I suspect and hope that Moore will make it a trilogy as he did with his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Century, focusing on Janni's death.
It is a thrill to see Moore's years of experience subtly weave this tale full of clever references. It's fun to read a sentence that contains a strange reference you just know is full of meaning and potential.
Great writers are lucky to get 10 years of producing great works but as Moore has always done, he has surprised me once again by staying relevant and producing another great work. I wouldn't say that this is one of Moore's best, but I would say that it is a highly entertaining work and one worth buying and enjoying. And what more can you ask for?


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