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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Review: The Tempest No.1

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest is the conclusion to the long-running League saga, and is being issued as a six-issue mini-series, co-published by Knockabout in the UK and Top Shelf in the USA. The first issue is available in comics shops now, and it's a treat to read.
There's a sense that Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill are really having fun with this comic, as evidenced right away from the cover, which is a homage to the old Classics Illustrated comics. (Subsequent issues will homage other comics, such as TV21 with No.2.)

On the inside cover there's a tribute to Leo Baxendale, covering his life, achievements and legal battle against D.C. Thomson. It's likely that a lot of League readers won't have known who Leo was, when really he should be as well known to comic fans as Jack Kirby, so this feature was very welcome (and will spotlight other creators in subsequent issues).
In the comic itself, the story techniques incorporate traditional colour comics, a parody of the Daily Express James Bond strip (above) and even a spoof of an old-style British superhero comic (complete with fake ads and an hilarious letters page). The latter brings back Mick Anglo's Captain Universe, a fairly obscure British superhero from the 1950s (used with permission). 

Of course, as is expected with League stories, there are numerous visual references inspired by pop culture from The Beatles to Stingray and many more dotted throughout. Each turn of the page offers us a delightful nod to the past either prominently or tucked away in the background. It's a dazzling mixture that brought a smile to my face several times, and a few laugh out loud moments too. 

I've followed the work of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill practically most of my life, and its been fascinating to see their styles develop and mature over the decades and remain as enjoyable as ever, with both creators still at the top of their game. 

With so many comics today being part of the factory system of creators playing musical chairs as writers and artists are replaced on a frequent basis it's always refreshing to read a creator-owned comic that can maintain its own vision. To accomplish that in such an enjoyable way is a bonus. If you enjoy well crafted comics you'll like this. If you're a fan of old British comics and pop culture you'll get even more of a kick out of it. Jump on board The Tempest today!

Here's the story synopsis as published in Previews:

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.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest No.1. Writer: Alan Moore. Artist: Kevin O'Neill. Colourist: Ben Dimagmaliw. Letterer: Todd Klein. Publisher: Knockabout (UK), Top Cow (USA). 32 pages (plus covers). $4.99. Out now.

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