The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1910 [Books]

league century 1910Genre: Graphic Novel – Fantasy – Steampunk
Rating: starstarstar

I admit, I really liked the first volume of this series. I enjoyed the second. But Century 1910 seriously makes me feel like the whole thing is going downhill. The League is no longer made up of the characters we came to know in volume one, but if you hadn’t read the extremely long bit at the end of volume two there’s a lot in here that might be confusing. Even having slogged through it (relatively recently, too) I still had to reorient myself and tried to remember who the characters one.

One particularly memorable character from that story who also appears here is Orlando. Orlando is a gender-fluid character, who can present as male or female, and often changes freely between the two. The other characters refer to Orlando by he or she, depending on how they present, whether they are onscreen or not.  However, it is irksome how Orlando is very much portrayed as sexually promiscuous. But that’s not the only bothersome thing about this volume.

Things I liked: Mina. Mina is always a great character in League, strong and powerfully and commanding. Also the introduction of the captain’s daughter, who travels to London as she does not want to take over from her father.

Things I didn’t like – and there spoilers to follow so please tread carefully! – the daughter who travels to London, kind of has her own subplot. The way it is conveyed is through ‘extras’ singing a song that at first sort of doesn’t make sense. But even when it does, OMG the song does not work. It’s weird, and jarring, and distracting.

And further – trigger warnings for sexual assault – it’s set to the brutal, over-the-top rape of Janni, Nemo’s daughter. To make this even worse, this assault pushes Janni to take revenge on London. Not against the people who did this, but against everyone. When Janni was introduced, I got excited. I thought we’d maybe finally see another woman who could work with The League, and work with Mina, rather than her simply dealing with men constantly (and occasionally, a female Orlando). But nope, instead we get badly done rape-revenge, and the set up becoming one where Janni is an enemy of The League. It’s…not great. 

I really wanted to like this addition to the series, but it seems like a strange choice and one that doesn’t quite fit. I enjoyed some parts of it, but honestly wouldn’t really recommend this unless you have invested in the series by this point. Otherwise, check out Volume 1, and perhaps consider stopping there.

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