Loading...
 

content

Book Review - League does justice to lit history

??The fact that Century: 1910 presents a supernatural historical thriller in which Edwardian antiheroes tangle with pirates, satanists and serial killers is business as usual for the series. The fact that Moore conceives the graphic novel partially as a musical is harder to get your head around. ??Moore crafts 1910’s major subplot as an elaborate homage to Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera and the book’s supporting roles croon new lyrics to the German composer’s most famous songs. The murderous Macheath, for instance, sings a pastiche of “The Ballad of Mack the Knife” that scans perfectly with the original. Moore seems especially inspired by Weill’s musical moralizing, and the numbers condemn the cruelty of the haves and have-nots alike. ??Fans of the superbly entertaining previous LXG books will be relieved that the League’s 1910 members don't break into song, but should be warned that they’re more obscure than, say, Mr. Hyde. In 1910, Dracula’s Mina Harker returns to lead a lineup that includes master thief Anthony Raffles, ghost hunter Thomas Carnacki and the immortal, androgynous Orlando (probably best known from the eponymous Virginia Woolf novel and Tilda Swinton movie). The League crisscrosses London to investigate an apocalyptic scheme that may not come to fruition for decades, setting up conflicts for Century’s subsequent parts. ??The first LXG volumes featured wild action scenes with the likes of H.G. Wells’ martians. The stories felt like Moore’s much appreciated vacations from his increasingly esoteric writings about sex, symbolism and paganism. 1910 suggests that he’s pursuing more complex ambitions, as if he’s trying to unify the whole of Western literature under one title. Moore reaches in so many directions, it’s no surprise 1910 includes multiple nods to his own work. The Jack the Ripper themes could provide a rousing alternate ending to From Hell's bleak anticlimax. He repeatedly evokes the black raider from Weill’s “Pirate Jenny” song, which inspired Watchmen’s “Tales of the Black Freighter.” For a project informed by prose books, O’Neill’s artwork creates suspense and a feeling of impending doom that’s effectively cinematic. ??Moore and O’Neill’s League books always bristle with literary in-jokes. For instance, in 1910, a crowd scene’s throwaway line “… rumor about the Chatterlys…” winks at D.H. Lawrence. If Wikipedia didn’t already exist, someone would have to invent it to keep track of all of LXG’s hidden references.

More By This Writer

SCREEN TIME: ‘Solo’s behind-the-scenes conflicts rival its on-screen sci-fi swashbuckling Article

Tuesday June 12, 2018 04:11 pm EDT
“Star Wars” prequel and low-budget thriller “The Endless” creates shared universes on different scales. | more...

‘Hamilton’s’ hip-hop history lives up to years of hype Article

Friday May 25, 2018 06:05 pm EDT
Touring show brings rapid-fire performances and muscular choreography to Fox Theatre | more...

Screen Time: ‘Solo’s’ behind-the-scenes conflicts rival its on-screen sci-fi swashbuckling Article

Wednesday May 23, 2018 02:05 pm EDT
“Star Wars” prequel and low-budget thriller “The Endless” creates shared universes on different scales. | more...

Summer Movies Beyond the Blockbusters Article

Friday May 4, 2018 11:30 am EDT
Independent films provide alternatives to mainstream fare; “Ghost Stories” delivers an old-school scare | more...

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ delivers unprecedented superhero sci-fi spectacle Article

Friday May 4, 2018 11:00 am EDT
The latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is almost too much of a good thing | more...
Search for more by Curt Holman