To be fair, it needs a certain kind of James Bond fan to read The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Ever since the introduction of the 20th century character known as Jimmy Bond, working for the British secret services after the war and the fall of Big Brother, he has been portrayed to look just like Ian Fleming's portrayal of the character, and behaving in a cruel, ruthless and colonial fashion – especially with Mina Harker. As Alan Moore once wrote in his forward to The Dark Knight Returns collection.
As our political and social consciousness continues to evolve, Alan Quartermain stands revealed as just another white imperialist out to exploit the natives and we begin to see that the overriding factor in James Bond's psychological makeup is his utter hatred and contempt for women. Whether most of us would prefer to enjoy the above-mentioned gentlemen's adventures without spoiling things by considering the social implications is beside the point. The fact remains that we have changed, along with our society, and that were such characters created today they would be subject to the most extreme suspicion and criticism.
Which is pretty much what it did in League. Quartermain had some development in his character, Bond did not. He ends up as M, commanding the J-Force Five of James Bonds all resembling certain well-known actors – as well as including Woody Allen's Casino Royale role. Tracking down Mina Harker and the remnants of her League to Prospero's Blazing World. And then nuking first the pool of eternal youth (after bathing in it himself and restoring himself to Fleming's factory settings) and then the Blazing World. Of course, that world is not so much a place, as an idea, and you can't destroy ideas, only change them. And now the Blazing World is kicking back and transforming the world as all sorts of fictions break out and take control.
And in today's final League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest #6, part of what we're calling Monster Wednesday here at Bleeding Cool. here are my favourite moments. You will have others. And after reading this the eighth time, I am bound to come out with more.
We get to see Mina Harker's meeting with Sherlock Holmes when she was trying to recruit him unsuccessfully to join the League.
Sherlock Holmes believes super-powered people only make things worse.
Though he appreciates their dealing with another former M, Professor Moriarty in the first League volume. Jettisoned into space using cavorite.
2. End Of Term For Toby
We have courtesy of the old British strip Mr Apollo from Dynamic Thrills in 1953, another superhero ripped off from Fawcett's Captain Marvel, Toby the schoolboy. Who's a version of British schoolboy glutton Billy Bunter, and who in the comic swallowed atomic pills and becomes an enormous-sized schoolboy to fight Mr Apollo. And here, he deals with dealing with the creature from Quatermass by eating it… and then setting up a background moment from a previous issue, that celebrated Viz Comic, which I utterly adored.
That's the one. The Angel of The North is a real thing. This is the Viz version of it, incorporating British comics from the 50s, which Viz always did well, as well as the British plagiarist obsession with Captain Marvel, again and again… and this comic goes there too.
3. War Of The Futures Past
Then we have two alternate apocalyptic futures duking it out for dominance, The Planet of The Apes and The Terminator – also incorporating a little 2000AD and Robocop. Which one will have our future? Well, there's another one to contend with as well.
4. Licence To Be Killed
But first, that James Bond moment. Who has done what James Bond has done, and has snuck into the 'secret lair' – previously under a volcano, but now out in space… and come across Emma Knight. Or Emma Night. Daughter of industrialist John Knight, founder of Knight Enterprises and creator of both Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and KITT. But she is better known, though not in this comic book of course, as Emma Peel, of The Avengers. The first one.
And the battle that has been coming oh-so long. James Bond, without his gadgets, and Emma Peel with her kinky boots.
It is short, brutal and ugly. Emma Peel kills James Bond, while humming her theme tune to herself, while watched by a photograph of John Steed. His body lying amongst his own stories. And Emma getting on with trying on her dress for the upcoming wedding. Not hers, of course…
5. Cameo-Flagged Appearances
It's a wedding to which two very special guests are not invited. Indeed they are ejected into space, Hitch-Hiker's Guide-style waiting to be picked up by a Heart Of Gold. They are of course Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, with Alan Moore reprising his Stan Lee role from the 1963 comic books, and Kevin O'Neill as Jack Kirby and/or Steve Ditko, with Stan Lee getting the fame, the money and the movie camoes… and noting that this is a scene in which they are both actually cameoing. A cameo comment that criticises other people's cameos? Yes.
6. Space Oddities
The connection between the 2001/2010 monoliths and the Blazing World was established last issue. Now it goes deeper and deeper down.
Creating war, rather than rewarding peace. Which is what they initially did on prehistoric Earth. And are now doing to Mars. With the frozen DNA of Cavor used for unspeakable purposes.
And all played for and got over the centuries by Prospero. And… oh dear oh dear oh dear.
7. Sherlock Was Right
Remember when Moriarty's was jettisoned into space with cavorite? Turns out that wasn't the last Mina Harker had to do with him. With Cavor's body being used to create new life, and denied the Amazonian Women on The Moon in favour of the Selenites, Harker found them a replacement to keep the peace,
And now, decades on, the results of her meddling?
The genetic offspring of Moriarty is now Lord Of Mars. In charge of all Martian races. And with the Earth in his gaze.
The superheroes made it worse. They couldn't even get rid of Moriarty, and instead made his lineage more powerful than ever. And doomed the planet.
There is so much more in this final issue. These were just my seven favourite moments. When reading, do also have a copy of Immortal Love on hand, to play at the appropriate moment towards the end…
League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest #6 is published today from Top Shelf/IDW/Knockabout.
LOEG TEMPEST #6
(W) Alan Moore (A/CA) Kevin O'Neill
In Moore and O'Neill's final comic book, this issue masquerading as a British science-fiction weekly, the plot-strands of our concluding volume and loose ends from twenty years of continuity are tied in an ingenious starry bow, as Mina Murray and her legendary confederates transition from the world of fiction past and present to the world of fiction future. Planets end in visual spectacle, lovers are united in the matrimonial event of the millenium, and deadly enemies draw close in the conclusion of their fatal dances. This is your last call for the immaculate crescendo of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. IV, The Tempest.In Shops: Jul 17, 2019