Nemo: Roses of Berlin by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
|Nemo: Roses of Berlin by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill|
|Category: Graphic Novels|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Great artwork lifts this soapy, idiosyncratic and short adventure set in an alternative Nazi capital.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 56||Date: March 2014|
It's all very well having a heroic band of brigands and workers plucked from literature and being able to do the jobs that can't ever even feature in top secret files. Submariners, invisible men, and other individuals of mysterious origin, powers and sometimes intent aren't unique to English, or England. Hence this loose approximation of World War II, when Berlin is turned into a Germania-meets-Judge-Dredd-Megacity, and the Indian daughter of Captain Nemo and her very own special Captain Jack have a much more personal mission. The Fuhrer – and the real people and things behind the throne of the Nazi-type superpower – have something they'll fight to the end to get back – their own offspring.
Designed from front to back with quippy vintage detail, this is a very short and sweet episode in the vast possibilities of the LXG universe, as fans might abbreviate it. It even makes a virtue of its own concision, the heroes hardly brushed clean from one adventure before they get bad news of 'The Terror' and who it contains; preparations pictured in just snatches of dialogue, caught mid-conversation as the camera cuts from outside the Nautilus to back within. I still think that you get to the end however and wish for more, even with the four-page, small-print, regular fiction addendum.
Still, with characters as succinct as these, their motives often are similar – get from A to B, blow C up, and kill D if there's a need. The pattern of the book takes them through some huge locations, all given a double-page splash peppered with a couple of smaller panels. Kevin O'Neill's artwork is in danger of parodying Mike Mignola at times, for there surely are only so many places one can go with square-jawed, angular people in fascistic uniforms, but boy he can blow things up just like his characters, or provide kinetic and extremely sudden fight elements for them.
I still feel my heretical view that the weak link must be Alan Moore holds true. His very personable decisions here include several pages in complex German, and what has he done to further his crusade of diminishing the routine superhero in comix here? He's brought them back for more, pitted them against some perhaps unusual German equivalents, added unnecessary wardrobe malfunctions, and really failed to engage with the possibilities of the endless universe available to him. What he has featured, in being a dynamic, explosive and entertaining snippet, is more than reasonable, but it remains a short book, and a typically unusual, soapy episode considering what it could have focussed on. He has a huge world to play with, and one day he will get it right for himself, for his copious collector fans, and for myself as well. I'll await the time when I'm completely delighted – we're all, like the Nautilus, just sailing through the waters for now.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
The most recent Moore title has been the finally completed and collected Bojeffries Saga.
You can read more book reviews or buy Nemo: Roses of Berlin by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Nemo: Roses of Berlin by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill at Amazon.com.
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