Today sees the publication of the first issue of the final League of Extraordinary Gentlemen story, The Tempest. The series that attempts to create one fictional world for all fictions, burning through the decades with a hodgepodge of homage, satire, parody, and earnest recognition.
But with Tempest, it begins, as each issue will, with a divergence. Rather than commit to the fiction that this is all part of some meta-continuity, as this series will reflect a number of British comic books in its pages, Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill have taken time out to celebrate under-appreciated comic book creators. No analogues, no parallel versions, just a bonus real-life extrusion, this time of Leo Baxendale, before returning to the group pretence…
And while previous League of Extraordinary Gentlemen have concerned themselves, naturally, with the past, almost reaching the present in Century, this new series takes that further, into the future, or rather the futures as laid out by past fiction. And finding that the imagery and style of 2000AD, at least of the ’70s and ’80s, may be the best way to go. After all, Moore and O’Neill have form with that comic.
Wanna know what a Manshonyagger is? It’s a Google away. The trick is to read this a couple of times for the references you may not get the first time round. Or wait for Jess Nevins to catch up.
The differing styles, and appearances of paper stock makes this series closer to The Black Dossier in terms of shifting art and production methods, including James Bond taking on the form of the newspaper strip that used to tell James Bond stories — and giving us as many Bonds as they can.
…even the ones no one likes to talk about — from that very first Casino Royale…
Ugandan encounters, a Private Eye euphemism for… well doing the thing that this fellow is also famous for.
So we have an MI5 being controlled by the original James Bond, though never named, committed to dealing with the remains of The League, still active in two forms, one with Emma Peel/Night, Orlando and Mina Murray touring old haunts in a Gulliver-like fashion, such as the Riallaro Archipelago and noting that the Fanattias have moved on from being wild-eyed reformers attempting to abolish each other to, well, Brexit.
The others are excavating the British superhero teams of the ’50s and ’60s, while dealing with the predictions of a future that everything starts to go wrong now… and the realisation that one of the original Leaguers may have survived in a very unexpected and currently unexplained form.
These multiple narrative strands beat the usual single narrative of most of the previous stories. There are separate groups with their own agendas with enough overlap to give the same kind of direction that the original series enjoyed, while still allowing the greater experimentation of later issues.
Tempest promises much — not at least original founder of The League, Prospero. But just as the play foretold much doom to come, so The League have that given them from the future. And as callous a James Bond as ever now as villainous as his nemeses ever were… and doing the kind of things that have to make this series the last.
Oh, and we discover what happened to Sgt Pepper and the boys too… just in time for a Yellow Submarine anniversary, by way of Stingray and TV/21 stylings.
But the ’60s were a very, very long time ago…
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest: #1 is published by IDW and Knockabout today.
LOEG TEMPEST #1
(W) Alan Moore (A/CA) Kevin O’Neill
After an epic twenty-year journey through the entirety of human culture, Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill conclude both their legendary League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and their equally legendary comic-book careers with the series’ spectacular fourth and final volume, “The Tempest.” This six-issue miniseries is a celebration of everything comics were, are and could be. Opening simultaneously in the panic-stricken headquarters of British Military Intelligence, the fabled Ayesha’s lost African city of Kor and the domed citadel of ‘We’ on the devastated Earth of the year 2996, the dense and yet furiously-paced narrative hurtles like an express locomotive across the fictional globe. This is literally, and literarily, the story to end all stories. Here’s how it begins. This is literally, and literarily, the story to end all stories. Here’s how it begins. In Shops: Jul 11, 2018