Pipedream Pull List Extra: Nemo: Heart Of Ice (Top Shelf / Knockabout)

NEMO_HOI_FC_PromoThere’s no denying that Alan Moore is a visionary comics writer, his résumé speaks for itself. But in recent years as his work has taken a more avant grade and experimental approach, not always for the better. The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, once his most well rounded book has descended into psychedelic insanity, perhaps as a reaction to the ill fated movie, and subsequent books, especially the recent 1969 and 2009 editions, although brimming with inventive ideas became oblique and pretentious. They were still packed full of insightful references from the world of music, art and literature and Kevin O’Neill’s art still bristled with energy and imagination, but as the references became increasingly obscure and the characters often more and more self indulgent each issue seemed to require a degree in occult literature and an epic companion glossary just to make head nor tail of it. Although it is great to know that someone is at least making intelligent comics,  showing off how much you know about obscure literarty characters it does not always make for the most interesting read. With his constant desire to push the envleope his work took an increasingly sexual under current best exemplified by the controversial Lost Girls book which reimagined fairy tale characters in sexually explicit stories that saw him raise the ire of the Daily Mail brigade. Which in itself was admirable, but this seedy side also inflitrated The League as well with the recent 1969 book featuring an unsettling number of veigny male members and hirsute lady parts.

Fortunately then, with this new Nemo book, Moore has reigned in his excesses,and  refocused on his characters, for a series of one shots – in this instance Janni, the daughter of Captain Nemo who we last saw in 1910 as an old woman.  By going back to the classic characters (or rather their children) Moore has also returned to the kind of adventuring spirit that made the first League books so exciting and inventive. It’s still packed with literary and cultural references galore (including a great Dogtanian appearance!), with artist Kevin O Neill revelling in a particularly demonic finale that would make Mike Mignola proud, but most importantly it has much more focus and direction and so make for an much more enthralling read.

pd_review4Whether read as part of the overall League mythos or read completely in isolation, its a cracking book and a real return to form. We just hope this is the shape of things to come from the League because on their day there is no more exciting a duo in comics than Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill and this goes a long way to reminding us of this.

Nemo: Heart of Ice is available via ComiXology or via the Top Shelf Comix app. If you prefer a more tactile version then why not buy the hardcover graphic novel from Amazon here?