New League! New League!

Let’s forget about the film. One of the most genuinely enjoyable and rewarding comic books in years, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is also one of the most frustratingly irregular. Both the first and second volumes took an eternity to come out from DC/Wildstorm, and the latest volume- the thoroughly intriguing ‘Black Dossier’- has been delayed more times than I can count. It might be coming out in February/March- but I’m not holding my breath.

Now, however- thanks to comic god Alan Moore finally cutting ties with DC, and the fact that the League is completely creator-owned, there’s a third volume of the series coming out from Top Shelf/Knockabout, the people who handled From Hell and Lost Girls. It’s not due out until 2008 (and anyone want to bet that date’ll change?) but it sounds utterly fantastic. Story details below, from the relevant page on Top Shelf’s website

The third volume detailing the exploits of Miss Wilhelmina Murray and her extraordinary colleagues is a 216-page epic spanning almost a hundred years and entitled Century. Divided into three 72-page chapters, each a self-contained narrative to avoid frustrating cliff-hanger delays between episodes, this monumental tale takes place in three distinct eras, building to an apocalyptic conclusion occurring in our own current twenty-first century.

Chapter one is set against a backdrop of London, 1910, twelve years after the failed Martian invasion and nine years since England put a man upon the moon. With Halley’s Comet passing overhead, the nation prepares for the coronation of King George V, and far away on his South Atlantic Island, the science-pirate Captain Nemo is dying. In the bowels of the British Museum, Carnacki the ghost-finder is plagued by visions of a shadowy occult order who are attempting to create something called a Moonchild, while on London’s dockside the most notorious serial murderer of the previous century has returned to carry on his grisly trade. Working for Mycroft Holmes’ British Intelligence alongside a rejuvenated Allan Quartermain, the reformed thief Anthony Raffles and the eternal warrior Orlando, Miss Murray is drawn into a brutal opera acted out upon the waterfront by players that include the furiously angry Pirate Jenny and the charismatic butcher known as Mac the Knife.

Chapter two takes place almost sixty years later in the psychedelic daze of Swinging London during 1968, a place where Tadukic Acid Diethylamide 26 is the drug of choice, and where different underworlds are starting to overlap dangerously to an accompaniment of sit-ins and sitars. The vicious gangster bosses of London’s East End find themselves brought into contact with a counter-culture underground of mystical and medicated flower-children, or amoral pop-stars on the edge of psychological disintegration and developing a taste for Satanism. Alerted to a threat concerning the same magic order that she and her colleagues were investigating during 1910, a thoroughly modern Mina Murray and her dwindling league of comrades attempt to navigate the perilous rapids of London’s hippy and criminal subculture, as well as the twilight world of its occultists. Starting to buckle from the pressures of the twentieth century and the weight of their own endless lives, Mina and her companions must nevertheless prevent the making of a Moonchild that might well turn out to be the antichrist.

In chapter three, the narrative draws to its cataclysmic close in London 2008. The magical child whose ominous coming has been foretold for the past hundred years has now been born and has grown up to claim his dreadful heritage. His promised aeon of unending terror can commence, the world can now be ended starting with North London, and there is no League, extraordinary or otherwise, that now stands in his way. The bitter, intractable war of attrition in Q’umar crawls bloodily to its fifth year, away in Kashmir a Sikh terrorist with a now-nuclear-armed submarine wages a holy war against Islam that might push the whole world into atomic holocaust, and in a London mental institution there’s a patient who insists that she has all the answers.

And if that wasn’t enough, 2009 will see the publication of The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic. The mind, as they say, boggles…

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