In the second half of this 30 in 30 journey, I’ve moved away from trying new stories and moved toward tackling modern classics that—like Seven Soldiers of Victory—that I’ve been meaning to get to. So, for the next three days, I’m reading Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Nemo Trilogy, starting with Heart of Ice today.
Title: LoEG - Nemo: Heart of Ice
Storytellers: Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill
Publisher: Top Shelf Comics
Year of Publication: 2013
Page Count: 56
It's 1925, fifteen long years since Janni Dakkar first tried to escape the legacy of her dying science-pirate father, only to accept her destiny, at last, as the new Nemo, captain of the legendary Nautilus. Now, tired of her unending spree of plunder and destruction, Janni launches a grand expedition to surpass her father's greatest failure: the exploration of Antarctica. Hot on her frozen trail are a trio of genius inventors, hired by an influential publishing tycoon to retrieve the plundered valuables of an African queen. It's a deadly race to the bottom of the world -- an uncharted land of wonder and horror where time is broken and the mountains bring madness. Jules Verne meets H.P. Lovecraft in the unforgettable final showdown, lost in the living, beating, and appallingly inhuman HEART OF ICE.
SPOILERS FOR LoEG – NEMO: HEART OF ICE BELOW
What I learned about Comic Book Storytelling in Writing
Heart of Ice is one of the more straightforward Alan Moore comics I’ve read. Sure, there are some confusing parts, but on the whole, it reads fairly clearly beginning-to-end. As a result, the character art is clear as well. Janni, the daughter of famed voyagers Captain Nemo, resents her father and hopes to recreate (and complete) the journey that killed him. Janni is embittered by her resentment, but the trial and tribulations of her journey to the Mountains of Madness thaw here heart of ice. For Moore, this skirts a bit close to cliched, but considering the Moore-esque execution of the story itself, that’s a minor complaint. The lesson here, I think, is that Moore grounds his grand and strange adventure on a relatable human story.
What I learned about Comic Book Storytelling in Art
In many ways, Heart of Ice is a very traditionally drawn comic. O’Neill sticks to simple panel layouts—often using only widescreen panels on most pages. Throughout, though, he almost exclusively lays out his two-page spreads one way. The left two-thirds of the spread will be a big reveal or some kind of show-stopper moment, while the right third will be stacked panels that move the plot along. There’s something aesthetically pleasing about the consistency of this layout, and it adheres to the best practices for laying out a two-page spread AND a single page (no stacked panels on the left). In that way, the spread reads more like a single unit than two pages.
Recommendation: B (Worth a Read)
Check back tomorrow when for part 2 of my Nemo Trilogy read-through—LoEG – Nemo: The Roses of Berlin.
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