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Friday, 1 February 2013
In Review: Nemo - Heart of Ice
By Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill Publishers: Knockabout/Top Shelf Out: February 2013
The Book: It's 1925, 15 long years since Janni Dakkar first tried to escape the legacy of her dying science-pirate father, only to accept her destiny as the new Nemo, captain of the legendary Nautilus. Now, tired of her unending spree of plunder and destruction, Janni launches a grand expedition to surpass her father's greatest failure: the exploration of Antarctica.
Hot on her frozen trail are a trio of genius inventors, hired by an influential publishing tycoon to retrieve the plundered valuables of an African queen.
It's a deadly race to the bottom of the world -- an uncharted land of wonder and horror where time is broken and the mountains bring madness..
The Review: This 56-page hardcover graphic novel, set in the richly-textured world of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, offers a delicious side story of Nemo's daughter, Janni, as she seeks to emulate her father's last doomed mission and explore the dangers of the deepest Antarctic - a land steeped in dangerous myth and magic.
Homaging HP Lovecraft, Jules Verne and Edgar Allan Poe (to name but few), Moore and O'Neill weave a disturbing and unsettling tale of fate-filled exploration, crammed with startling and horrific yet hypnotic imagery - and I'm not just talking about a human-sized penguin in a fur coat.
Ever pushing boundaries, the tale is crammed with literary and visual detail from start to finish, opening with the finale of a daring raid to steal the valuables of a sadistic, deposed Queen in New York and not drawing breath until the final page.
Included in the adventure is is a head-scratching three-page sequence where time runs together and Janna's expedition run afoul of Cthullu creations; and more references to the inspiring work of several masters of science fiction and horror than you can shake a stick at.
Overall, it's a dark, gloomy and unsettling story, peppered with horror and the deaths of some of Janna's most loyal Nautilus crew members - but, without giving too much away, the tale does close on a happier note for some of the cast. O'Neill's art is as ever, glorious and unique, successfully startling more than once with a range of stunning panels as Nemo's daughter descends ever deeper into the world first conjured by Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness story..
This project is, possibly, just a taster of more Lovecraft-inspired work to come from Alan. Last year, during the first N.I.C.E. convention, he announced his new 10-part comics project, Providence, a sequel to his four issue mini series Neonomicon, which will be published by Avatar Press. Set in 1919, featuring Lovecraft himself as a character, it will explore the inspiration behind the horrific mythology he created.