League of Ext. Gentlemen: Century 1910, a late review.

Posted: July 10, 2009 in Comic Books, Crossover Reviews, Crossovers

LOEG Century: 1910, is the first chapter of the third editon of the League. (Last years Black Dossier was just a supplement) While the first two editions were originally 12 issue mini-series, Century is/will be three small graphic novels. Part 2 will be released next year, and part 3 the year after that.

The story opens (In the year 1910 of course) with supernatural Detective Thomas Carnacki having a dream about a cult, as well as a strange woman on an island, that we know to be Captain Nemo’s daughter. He awakes to discuss the dream with gentlemen theif Mr. Raffles, and soon Mina Murray, Quatermain, and Orlando  arrive.

Mr Raffles and Carnacki are both from turn of the century British fiction. Mina and Quatermain are the common characters throughout the series. Both are now immortal after bathing in a secret African pool. Quatermain is now young again, and poses as the son of the supposedly dead Allan Quatermain. Parts of the story deal with the pressures Allan and Mina feel from being immortal, and subequently having to change identities.

Orlando is harder to explain, basically a gender changing immortal, whose life was detailed in Black Dossier, having met or actually was many of history’s great warriors.  Orlando in this story is male, very vain, and annoying. His team mates don’t believe his stories of founding London or actually having Excalibur.  One funny scene early on is him bemoaning having to shave, saying it’s worse than a woman having her period. Another laugh out loud moment is when arouses the anger of the group by smarting off to Mina. Quatermain tells him his words were the stupidest thing he ever said. His response is “Oh I don’t know, there was “Oh look, a wonderful horse.” That was at Troy.” Hilarious.

Other funny moments are Raffles making a comment to Quatermain (not knowing he’s immortal) about how everybody dies eventually. Also Mina notes she used to not be superstitious, which is why she now wears a scarf. (Dracula) One nice touch is a kitchy reproduction of the Nautilus, made for tourists.

Anyway there’s two stories going on here. One is the mystical villain Haddo, (A composite character of the fictional versions of real life occultist Aleister Crowley) getting preparing to bring the Moonchild into the world. The Moonchild being something akin to the anti-christ.

The other story is Janni reluctantly taking the mantle of her father Captain Nemo.  This also intermixes with the return of Jack the Ripper. These parts of the story are told in song, sung by some older woman who watches Janni, but herself seems unnoticed. It’s interesting that at first we assume the song is about Janni, but it’s actually about Jack. The plot threads sort of run into each other by the end. There’s a nice twist here or there, but the story’s strong points are in it’s character moments.

Of course we see other fictional characters in this story. There’s references to The Lost World, and in one panel we see Popeye.  We also meet Andrew Norton, who I believe is a modern fictional character who travels through time but can only stay in London.

Finally there are a few short prose pieces in the back, under the heading of Minions of the Moon. We get references to the Stone Monolith from 2001 the Space Oddyssey, as well as the erotic tale The Story of O.  We also learn that during the 60s Mina posed as the hero Vull the Invisible, in a failed attempt to form a superhero team called the Seven Stars. Finally the team is off to the moon to stop a war between two Lunar races and they see a frozen Moriarty flying through space. (from volume one)

It’s a little tricky to review this by itself, as it’s like reviewing the opening chapter of a book.  By now some of it’s good moments require reading the previous editions. My guess is the whole of century will be greater than the sum of it’s part. I’m looking forward to future editions and am curious for the Moonchild and Minions of the Moon stories. 4/5 stars. Until next year, Excelsior!

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