A bit late to this graphic novel but considering the responses to recent geek movies The Shape of Water and Annihilation, the moment seemed appropriate for quick thoughts about Providence.
Our protagonist is Jack Barlow – a bit of a loser character. Jack’s pregnant wife – Patience – is murdered in 2016 and that event traumatises him for life. Thirteen years later, he comes across a time travel device which provides him with the opportunity to prevent Patience’s murder. Naturally, things don’t quite pan out as planned.
Real life is scary.
Written by Julien Blondel.
Art & Colors by Didier Poli, Robin Recht & Jean Bastide.
“… the story you begin reading here is the saga of the Albino I would have written myself if I had thought of it first.”
In his introduction to this latest graphic novel adaptation of the Elric novels, Michael Moorcock, the original writer himself was obviously impressed enough to pen the above words. It’s easy to be cynical and slightly incredulous initially. Having read the book itself and previous comic book adaptations already, what new perspective could Blondel provide?
Fans of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen will be excited to find out that creators Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill have delivered a spin-off story not long after the end of the Century trilogy. Published jointly by Top Shelf Productions and Knockabout Comics, this is how the publishers have summarized the plot for your easy consumption —
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 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.
As usual, Moore strings together characters from various fictional universes (in the public domain, of course) to weave his own distintive story. This time around, we find ourselves in the pulp fiction world of the 1920s, when science-adventurers captured the imagination of its reader. Moore uses his 56-page allotment economically, setting up the conflict quickly and resolving the same with a deft touch. It’s basically one big chase scene across the frozen wastes of the South Pole before both pursued and pursuers get their minds blown by the horrors torn from the pages of Lovecraft’s In The Mountains of Madness.
These frightful conjurings are brought to life by O’Neil’s wide-eyed angular illustrations. The grizzled features of Janni’s henchmen contrasted greatly with the relative youth of the young Captain. And once the crew slips into Lovecraftian territory, O’Neil is adept at delivering horrific representations of these classic monsters as well.
Good pulp-ish fun all round in the grand LOEG tradition. Not to be missed!
NEMO: HEART OF ICE by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill
(Top Shelf Press Release)
— A 56-page full-color hardcover graphic novel
— ISBN 978-1-60309-274-6, $14.95 (US)
— Co-Published by Top Shelf & Knockabout
In the grim cold of February surfaces a thrilling new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen book: Nemo: Heart of Ice, a full-color 56-page adventure in the classic pulp tradition by the inestimable Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill.
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 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.
Strictly speaking, this is not a review of Sonny Liew‘s Malinky Robot: Collected Stories & Other Bits, which I already assessed here. This time around, I am sharing with you the newly minted Limited Edition Box Set which includes the book as well as a variety of goodies.
The first thing you notice about Book 2 of Gone Case is that the HDB flat has been upgraded with a fresh coat of paint! Talk about progress. Also you will also note that the roof top access is open – a key plot point in the book. And that’s really what Gone Case is about – an attention to detail. This comes across vividly both in Chua’s story and Koh’s art.
Chua never misses a beat. Whether it is with the cleaner squeezing a dirty cloth in front of Yong, or Yong’s mother’s observation that “All the shops look the same” at the new mall or her questioning Yong about growing up to become a popiah seller, Chua sprinkles numerous little barbs about Singapore living, hidden in the plain sight of the narrative.
Koh’s artwork is clean and uncluttered yet ornate in that European-by-way-of-Darrow style that he so revels in. He captures locations and facial expressions equally well and there’s no mistaking Koh’s vision of Singapore (and its inhabitants) for some other Asian city.
Gone Case Book 2 is the concluding portion of this adaptation of Chua’s novel of the same name and by the time we arrive at the perplexing denouement, we are hungry for more stories about Yong and his delights and dilemmas. Enough connection has been made between characters and audience to suggest that a continuation of Yong’s story in the future could surely be a welcome development.
But till then, enjoy both books of Gone Case as a slice of life narrative on par with Eric Khoo’s 12 Storeys. Essential reading.