The end of a Century’s story: A review of Century 2009

cover image League of Extraordinary Gentleman: Century 2009 brings Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s Century to an end, in true comics style, but blowing up the universe. Looking at recent runs, when a writer comes to the end of their turn in story, it is easier to explode their instance and let the next person start world building. Moore explodes somebody else’s universe; somebody else’s instance of fiction. Perhaps this is what the League was really all about: an attempt to rescue the passion underneath story.

Orlando, moving between being male and female, skulks through the city. (S)he is certain that Mina, who was attacked by Oliver Haddo, must be found The band in the background provides the back story for those who have not read earlier editions but almost echo a prog rock band or a Grek chorus, trying to tell stories within stories. The League requires some assistance from newer bodies such as an analogy to James Bond and Judi Dench as M.

Alan Quartermain has disappeared, no longer the great hunter but the hunted. His imperial past is no longer wanted or fashionable and his former grand stature is reduced to selling magazines to stop being homeless. The post-colonial theorists have found their mark and H Rider Haggard’s story’s no longer represent the world it appears and disappear off shelves. In part Moore began chipping away at this earlier in the series when Nemo abandoned the League in disgust at their own inability to recognise their failures and follies. Instead he is off causing his own independent chaos between India and Pakistan, a dangerous gambit by the invisible idealist, before realising that he must make his own peace with the past.

London, and in particular this version, needs a psychopomp and what appears to be Iain Sinclair makes a wonderful one. As his own writing navigates the psychogeography of our capital, his appearance takes us into Moore’s horror of what lies behind Platform 9 and 3/4s. It is a skewed view of horror, one arguing that Harry Potter itself is an abomination and in dire need of some updating. The naivety of the series is certainly punctured as Harry undergoes a meltdown who is defeated by a version of Mary Poppins who is a deity. The nanny is more aware of her roots and so is more powerful, unlike Potter, and merely remakes the world which has, of course, already moved on.

The world is tied up but it does not seem to have a future; everything is rooted in the past. The present is in need of finding itself and its voice rooted in a past.

 

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