‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 2009’ Review

And thus we reach the end of the longest, most dragged out, most mind-boggling, obscure, source reference chapter of Alan Moore’s ongoing series set in a world populated entirely by fictional characters. The series undoubtedly peaked early, with the first two volumes featuring the original line-up of Mina Murray, Allan Quartermain, Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde and Captain Nemo butting heads with Professor Moriarty, Fu Manchu, Dr. Moreau and the Martians. The action was imaginative, the design was lovely and whilst you may not be able to put a name to each of the references it was great fun trying to puzzle them out.

Whilst the design and artwork of Kevin O’Neill remained at the high standard over The Black Dossier and Century, they stories and characters started to go off the deep end. The concept had been elevated to the level of lunacy with references being so obscure that most forums addressing the topic still can’t seem to pin them all down. The principal cast remain interesting and there’s some characters we’d still like to see more of (such as the members of the 1910 League).

Stepping into the modern day with Century 2009 we see the conclusion to the third volume once again hitting its stride. Focus of the characters remains with Orlando, Mina and Allan dealing with the rise of the Anti-Christ – the identity of whom is truly fitting for the modern era of fantasy writing (we’ll remain spoiler free until the final paragraph). With such a simple thrust to the narrative it moves along at a brisk pace and has a satisfying conclusion. Noticing details in the background is as fun as it used to be with posters for ‘Who Dat Ninja?’ and NWH to spot, and even a cameo from the Matt Smith and William Hartnell versions of The Doctor walking side by side. The different James Bonds working together in MI5 under Emma Peel is also a nice touch to the canon. While the first two chapters of this volume have been scattershot in quality this conclusion ranks among the best stories in the franchise. Hopefully the Tales of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen will manifest in the near future so we can enjoy the adventures of the expanded universe, especially Gulliver’s League.

Once you finish this chapter, which concludes with the Anti-Christ being revealed to be a Lovecraftian fifteen foot Harry Potter shooting lightning out of his wang while battling Mary Poppins, you’re left wondering whether you’ve just read a work of genius or a the product of a deranged mind finally let of the hook.