The third book of the final volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has been difficult reading. The first two collected volumes remain up there with my favourite ever comics. But most of what’s followed has, in my opinion, been heart-wrenchingly disappointing. Unfortunately, this last hope for the series doesn’t manage anything extraordinary, and any hope we had for the series in our 1910 review has been well and truly extinguished. It’s a tragic disappointment.
On the bright side, at least we get some closure. In this book we see Prospero, much hinted at in previous volumes as one of the original members of the League, showing up to orchestrate the action. We also find out who the villain of the piece is – a thinly-veiled Harry Potter, turned into an anti-Christ by Moore, perhaps as a snipe at his old enemy Time Warner.
Perhaps it’s this bitterness, or Moore’s curmudgeonly belief that modern culture has become vacuous and unworthy of his adventurers’ interaction, that makes this not-so-grand finale such a disappointment. Whatever the reason, it just doesn’t feel like his heart is in it any more. The League is whittled down to three, even the characters seem to be going through the motions, and all the life, depth and enthusiasm that have characterised Moore’s finest moments are sadly lacking here.
If you’ve already walked down the Century road and bought the previous two books, then it might be worth checking this out, for the sake of completeness. However, I suspect you’ll probably join me in wishing that Moore had buried the League after Volume 2.