The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Century: 2009


League of Extraordinary Gentleman: Century 2009
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Century: 2009

By Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill

Published by Top Shelf and Knockabout

This latest chapter brings the third volume of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to a close. Orlando and Mina reunite in 2009 London and desperately try to avert Oliver Haddo’s plan to breed the Anti-Christ, little realising they are decades too late.

This tale has spanned a century in League years, and more than five years for Moore and O’Neill. Inevitably that brings a weight of expectation to this concluding instalment that it can hardly shoulder. The art is as vivid and exciting as ever, the in-jokes and cultural allusions abound (bows for Malcolm Tucker, Father Jack and Little Britain’s Andy, among others), but the plot is a little too direct and simplistic after the layered masterpieces of 1910 and 1969.

Part of the problem is the intervening 40 years since we last met our heroes. Mina has been incarcerated in an asylum, Allan has become a homeless heroin addict and Orlando has spent his/her time on the battlefield. These experiences have profoundly changed their characters, and they spend most of 2009 stumbling around, lacking the confidence and bravado that served them in the past.

This does at least serve to make the outcome of the climatic battle less certain, as the League face up against the Anti-Christ, in the form of the bastard son of Harry Potter. The popular press have made much of this ‘looting’ of the beloved boy wizard, but in fact, Moore and O’Neill simply do what they have always done, shining Potter through their warped prism to create a unique character in his own right.

To say much more would be to spoil the book for the enjoyment of others, but the ending is satisfying and leaves the door ajar for more tales of the League, which Moore and O’Neill have said publicly they plan to create. Century is undoubtedly a book that works best read as a whole rather than in instalments, and fans should cheer that they now have an opportunity to do just that.?

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