Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill - Nemo: Heart of Ice (5 stars)

Fantastic spin-off from Moore's literary comicbook series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill - Nemo: Heart of Ice

Less than a year after the publication of the concluding episode of the epic third volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Century, writer Alan Moore and artist Kevin O’Neill treat us to the first stand alone/spin-off League tale. As with the preceding volumes, the new book (a 48-page hard-bound novella) takes place within an alternate universe comprised entirely of pre-existing fictional creations. Dipping into an era and milieu previously uncharted in League annuls, Nemo: Heart of Ice takes place in the 1920s and draws heavily, though by no means solely, upon the fiction of that decade’s greatest cult writer, HP Lovecraft. What Moore and O’Neill have come up with is, as Howard Phillips himself once wrote of a colleague, a classic of the first water.

It’s 1925, and pirate princess Janni Dakkar, daughter of Jules Verne’s buccaneer submariner Captain Nemo, has spent the 15 years since her father’s death maintaining his legacy of plunder at the helm of his hi-tech submersible the Nautilus. Robbing the riches of an ageless African queen, however, arouses the ire of her sugar daddy, one Charles Foster Kane, who brings his immense corporate power to bear on the undersea boat. Meanwhile, its new(ish) commander retraces her father’s footsteps to the Antarctic in an effort to rid herself of the weight of his legacy which has rendered her frigid of heart.

Once more, Moore has appropriated pre-existing characters, concepts and plots for his own ends, in this case to tell a story about a troubled father-daughter relationship. That’s the beating heart of the book, and as always it’s tricked out with a fantastic array of textual references, some obvious, others obscure. O’Neill again does a sterling job of rendering Moore’s musings in his gloriously peculiar brand of highly detailed spiky illustrations.

Given Moore and O’Neill are apparently now dedicating the entirety of their creative efforts in comics to expanding their mythology we can perhaps with some confidence expect a lot more of the League in the near future. On the strength of Nemo: Heart of Ice, we can also confidently expect the quantity of forthcoming League and League-related comics to be matched by an equally high quality.

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