The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest #1
Publisher: Top Shelf/IDW
Writer: Alan Moore
Art: Kevin O’Neill
Colors: Ben Dimagmaliw
Letterer: Todd Klein
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
After a lengthy absence, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen are back in what is said to be the final arc, The Tempest. In the first of six issues, we’re brought up to speed with Mina Murray, Orlando, and Emma Night as they dip into the fire of youth before going off to find Nemo’s grandson, Jack. Meanwhile, a new M has taken over M.I.5. and is set on discovering the whereabouts of the three women who have made off with the League’s history. And in a seemingly-unconnected-but-definitely-connected storyline, former members of the Seven Stars are looking for members of their old team and trying to discover the identity of the invisible Vull who kept records on the team while they were together.
Right from the get-go, you can tell that Moore is going to employ a lot of meta-narrative into the first League story in forever (I admit I had to go back and read Wikipedia summaries to refresh my binge read of the series a few years ago). The inside cover begins their first of six homages paid to British comic creators who got screwed over by publishers, which I’m sure has nothing to do with Alan Moore’s history with DC Comics. Nothing at all.
The Seven Stars, while searching for their lost teammates, stumble across an old comic book they starred in—and don’t worry, you get to read that comic at the end of this issue in true League-fashion (complete with the cover you see as well!). Also, this may be a bit of a stretch, but I’ve always wondered if the inclusion of James Bond (not named) in this series has anything to do with Sean Connery starring in the terrible, awful movie that made him quit acting. Not only is James Bond back, but Moore cleverly incorporates all the Bond variants we’ve seen in film history.
As for the story, I’d say first and foremost that you’ll need to have recently read the previous stories or do some sort of “previously, on…” refresher like I did. But once you’ve dusted off your League memories, this really does pick up where the others left off. The three different stories told in different ways—the Bond plotline reads more like a weekly comic strip rather than comic book form. The multiple stories don’t feel overwhelming in the slightest, especially because it feels like at some point, they’re all going to converge. It ties in nicely with the past while promising the same quality we’ve come to know over the years.
Of course, since this is League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, there are more pop culture references than you can shake a stick at. I particularly enjoyed the Beatles shout-out and the Brexit parody.
With the different types of stories comes different types of art, and O’Neill is no slouch. Character and scene designs are flawless, whether it’s black and white pencil sketches or undiscovered aquatic worlds, the art flows seamlessly into the story.
Buy it. If, for no other reason, it’s an Alan Moore book. But really, fans of the series will feel at home, as crazy and unnerving as the League home can be at times.