The second volume of Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s adventures of Nemo’s daughter take us into 1940s Berlin. This version has been influenced by Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (and a number of characters from the German director’s other movies) and features a Third Reich under the control of Charlie Chaplin’s Adenoid Hynkel.
The Germans, fed up with Nemo’s raids on their shipping lines, set a trap for her by appearing to capture her daughter and son-in-law. Nemo then leads a daring sortie into the heart of Berlin in an attempt to rescue them. As is typical with Moore’s adventures, not everything goes according to plan.
O’Neill’s fascist vision is superbly rendered, with towering mechanical buildings churning out armies of zombie-like, sleeping drones. The futuristic dystopia brings some colour to Lang’s vision but the muted factory greys and murky palette remind us of O’Neill’s dystopian Marshall Law days.
The story feels a little stretched and under-developed, as if more effort has been made ensuring the various homages fit together seamlessly, rather than worrying too much about whether the mechanics of the story work sensibly. For example, Nemo and her team find Hynkel’s secret hideout a bit too easily, which certainly progresses the story but feels like a plot shortcut.
We preferred the first volume, which saw Nemo exploring the dark Lovecraftian Antarctic and seemed settled on largely sticking to a single literary influence.
All the books in this series: