Friday, January 16, 2015
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume III: Century
The League (particularly Mina Murray, Allan Quatermain, and Orlando) attempt, over the course of nearly 100 years, to prevent occultist Oliver Haddo (from W. Somerset Maugham's novel The Magician) from engineering the birth of a Moonchild (from the novel of the same name by Aleister Crowley, upon whom Haddo was based), thus ushering in the Apocalypse. Several factors in this trilogy place it outside CU continuity. The 1910 chapter involves characters from Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's musical play The Threepenny Opera, and repeatedly references the upcoming coronation of King George V. However, The Threepenny Opera takes place in 1838, just before Queen Victoria's coronation. In the League universe, the infamous murders in Whitechapel in 1888 were committed by Jack Macheath, aka Mack the Knife, rather than Jack the Ripper. Also, there are several mentions of the 14th Earl of Gurney from the movie The Ruling Class. In the film, the mentally ill Earl believed himself to be God at first, and then later the Ripper. However, The Ruling Class is clearly set in the 1970s, when the film was made, as the Earl name-drops both Timothy Leary and Mao Zedong. In the 1969 chapter, Britain’s Prime Minister is Wilson, a long-lived athlete who appeared in the magazines The Wizard and Hornet, rather than Harold Wilson, the U.K.’s real Prime Minister in 1969. The American president is identified as pop star Max Foster, who has imprisoned non-hippies in concentration camps; this is a reference to Max Frost from the film Wild in the Street. Needless to say, nothing like this happened in our world or the CU in 1969. Additionally, a character named Tom appears; this is meant to be Tom Marvalo Riddle, alias Lord Voldemort, the archnemesis of J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard Harry Potter. However, Moore has Tom stating that he teaches occult studies at a school up north, whereas Rowling’s novels never portrayed Voldemort as a professor at Hogwarts. In 2009, America and Britain are at war with Q’Mar (aka Qumar, a fictional Middle Eastern country from the TV series The West Wing), and David Palmer (from the show 24) has succeeded The West Wing’s Jed Bartlet as President of the United States. The Prime Minister of Great Britain is Tom Davis from the TV series The Thick of It. The M played by Judi Dench in the James Bond movies is identified as Emma Peel, whereas Raymond Benson’s novel The Facts of Death gives her real name as Barbara Mawdsley. Bond himself is depicted as aging and decrepit, is suffering from cirrhosis, emphysema, and syphilis, and has been impersonated for decades by a series of increasingly younger agents, a reference to the number of actors who have portrayed him on film. This does not fit with the continuity of John Gardner and Raymond Benson’s continuation novels. Furthermore, the Moonchild is revealed here as Harry Potter, who massacred the other students and the faculty of Hogwarts, which does not fit with the continuity of J.K. Rowling’s novels.