6 August 2013

Nemo: Heart of Ice fails to excite

I first came across the erratic genius that is Alan Moore in 2000AD in his future shocks short stories and I have some faint memories of some of those. He soon made a bigger and more lasting impact, again in 2000AD, with the serious The Ballad of Halo Jones and the wildly funny D. R. and Quinch, both of which were blessed with top-notch artists.

Soon after came V for Vendetta and his run on Swamp Thing, which are my favourite works of his.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen started in 1999 as a story featuring fictional Victorian heroes.

There have been more stories since then each set in a different era and each making wilful references to fictional characters of that time, including in one story Rupert Bear and Tiger Tim. This started to infringe copyrights and Volume 3, The Black Dossier, was not generally available in the UK (I have it, of course) and after that it moved from to smaller publishers less at risk of being sued.

Throughout this journey the art has been provide by Kevin O'Neill who I also first came across in 2000AD, notably with Robusters and Nemesis the Warlock.

The latest story in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen saga is Nemo Heart of Ice. The new captain of the Nautilus, and hence the bearer of the name "Nemo", is Janni Dakkar the daughter of Prince Dakkar the original Captain Nemo in the stories by Jules Verne.

This tale takes us to the Antarctica of HP Lovecraft with its Mountains of Madness, buried cities, sightless penguins and nameless monsters lurking in shadows.

As in the previous books, I liked spotting the literary references and I am sure that I missed most of them. Somehow though, that was all the story did and the main plot failed to engage me. It was rather like watching a repeat of a 70's TV show, something like Minder or Lovejoy, and looking at the clothes and cars rather than the story.

Kevin O'Neill's artwork, however, is as superb as it always is and I am delighted that he has retained the sharp lines that I first fell in love with many years ago.

Nemo Heart of Ice was a disappointment but not a disaster and I am sure that I'll be reading the next League of Extraordinary Gentlemen story too.

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