Since 1999, Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s League of Extraordinary Gentleman series has been taking comic fans on an unparalleled journey through classic literature from the past right up to the present. Now, both has decided to call it a day on their respective legendary comic careers and have chosen to coincide their retirement from the comic industry with the concluding fourth volume of one of their most famous series. This is not a quiet retirement though as Moore and O’Neill use all the bells and whistles at their disposal to bring this amazing series to close with The Tempest.
Seeking to wrap up all the loose ends from the three preceding volumes (as well as The Black Dossier and the Nemo trilogy), The Tempest is a vast journey that, in the opening chapter, alone jumps from 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. Moore and O’Neill manage to bring a cohesiveness to the frequently changing style of narrative and art that makes sure everything works and brings their usual level of authenticity.
O’Neill – as always – excels in jumping between the different time periods and tweaking his art to fit the setting (whilst slipping in all those literary easter eggs we’ve become accustomed to). As you’d expect, he does an excellent job in depicting the futuristic and pulpish aspects, but it is the segments focusing on the 2996 future that really stand out. They have the look and feel of the great sci-fi comic/pulp stories of the past giving off more than a little Buck Rogers/Flash Gordan vibe. This is all aided by the overall presentation which includes fictional advertisements for various whacky products resembling the ones that packed the pages of comics in years past, and the editorial style which is admittedly a take on Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s approach for Marvel in the 60s whilst also paying tribute to legends of classic British comics.
Additionally, this collection includes the Seven Stars comic within a comic which is a wonderful tribute to the comics that Moore and O’Neill followed in their younger years and hearkens back to some of Moore’s early comic work at the start of his career. If anyone was concerned that Moore and O’Neill would turn in something cynical for their final comic work, you will be pleasantly surprised.
This final volume will more than satisfy long-time fans of the series and is a worthy conclusion to two legendary comic careers. This is a part of comics history nobody will want to miss.
The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 4: The Tempest is published on 28 November from Knockabout (9780861662821, h/b, £24.99)