Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Weekly Treats! Nemo: Heart of Ice, Age of Ultron

As seems to be the fashion for the series, the new release from the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen stable, - although in this, curiously, not actually branded as such - takes an age to come and then slips into the shop when you're least expecting. There was talk of bringing the series to a close at the end of the Century trilogy but Kevin O'Neill himself suggested to us when he came for a signing, that he and Alan Moore were having such fun with it he couldn't see it ever ending. 

Nemo: Heart of Ice (Top Shelf/Knockabout) focuses on Janni, the daughter of the infamous captain (featured in the first two volumes of the regular series) who was introduced in Century: 1910. Janni has accepted the mantel of explorer/plunderer, but she yearns to step out of her father's shadow and thus begins her journey to explore the region that bested him: Antarctica. To add spice to the occasion, Janni is being pursued by inventor/adventurers hired to retrieve items she stole from a billionaire in league with a mysterious, other-worldly Queen.

The hook of the series - of fictions within fictions - is still important; it doesn't so much draw from H.P. Lovecraft as muscle it's way into the lore. The so-called Easter eggs are ever present (and Jess Nevins has been working hard to get the annotations up online here), but whereas in the Century trilogy I felt the story leaned heavily on those references, in Nemo: Heart of Ice they simply bring richer layers to the story. In fact after the generally more outlandish, surreal content of the Century books, Nemo... is very much a return to the action and adventure storytelling from the first two volumes of the regular series.

Technically, this isn't an LOEG book because it doesn't feature the organisation and an understanding of the story isn't reliant on the LOEG stories that have preceded it (maybe the publisher was concerned about discouraging new readers who may feel excluded unless they've read the other titles) but goodness knows what a reader with no knowledge of the LOEG world would make of the book. Maybe this is the future of the Moore/O'Neill universe; curious 'what if...?' tales of the unexpected. Takes me back to 2000AD...

Other books out this week: a modern-day horror take on Wizard of Oz entitled No Place Like Home vol. 1 Home Again (Image); a fantasy, action adventure dose in Archer & Armstrong vol. 1 The Michelangelo Code (Valiant); the full 12 issue collection of James Robinson's The Shade (DC) including a host of artists such as Frazer Irving and Darwyn Cooke; And there are two more stories collected in Crossed vol. 5 (Avatar), working hard to offend.

And finally, Ultron has evolved...

By Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch. Age of Ultron #1 (Marvel) of 10, promises a shock ending that will lead into the NEXT big Marvel event. Get your very pretty, SHINY FOIL COVER here.

If you can believe it there's actually loads more! Have a look at the full list under the tab at the top of the page.

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