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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 March 2014
This hardback version really feels and looks like the kind of "Boy's Own" annual that you could get in the 1950s - 1960s. No doubt this a big part of Alan Moore's past influences and the "retro" atmosphere is a big part of the appeal - not the sort of thing you can reproduce on a Kindle, this is all about the joy of a real book, that might have been read under the covers by a schoolboy.

However, Moore's ironic twist is to make this very much an "adult" story in every sense of the word - no compromises are made and no punches pulled. It is graphic and not the sort of thing parents would really expect their children to be reading.

A large part of the beginning is written in German with no translation - you are thrown in at the deep-end of an alternate history, in a strange world that is beautifully painted and realised. It has elements of the German Secret Weapons of the Second World War (Greenhill Military Paperback), as well as that regime's fascination with the Occult.

All in all this is a visual and tactile treat, with great retro details and is part of Alan Moore's unique vision - maybe a bit short and not as good as recent editions, but these are always worth seeing in the hardback format.
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on 23 March 2014
This short work has Janni Nemo and Broad Arrow Jack, infiltrating a terrifying fascist Metropolis/Berlin on a rescue mission after Nemo's daughter Hira and Robur are shot down . Its a trap and the pair battle many bizarre and surprising cinema - spawned enemies including somnambulistic goose-stepping "sleeptroopers" and an iconic female robot. Chaplin's Adenoid Hynkel and Dr Caligari are present as well as many fantastic vehicles and nightmare architecture.

We have amazing Kevin O'Neill artwork. Detailed, busy, visceral and horrific. He has an ability to freeze the action most effectively in the fight scenes in a way that surpasses CGI and movies and has the reader pageflipping back and forth. He does awesome vehicles and machines, I love the Me.163 Komet "remix" on the cover and the Battleship inside the front cover. I would have like to have seen more of the Terror, Jules Verne's multi-role vehicle from Robur the Conquerer.

Alan Moore has produced another obscure reference laden work (wish there was an appendix) but it does not buckle under the weight, and it has a simple plot and some tender moments. Quite a lot of untranslated German is present but it adds to the atmosphere, This is a device often used in the League universe. I imagine its just for colour, and not plot-relevant.

A expertly crafted and a highly conceptual read, this will be incomprehensible to the general reader. This is arguably book No.8 in a bizarre non linear series of branching fiction mash-ups. Great fun, great art and lots of detail.

In order of publication the League of Extraordinary Gentleman books are

1.The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 1 TP

2.The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 2 TP

3.The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Black Dossier (League of Extraordinary Gentmn)

4.League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The: Century 1910

5.League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1969

6.League of Extraordinary Gentleman: Century 2009

7.Nemo: Heart of Ice

8.Nemo: Roses of Berlin:

To get the most from this series a little background reading may help. Try :

Arthur Conan DoyleSherlock Holmes: The Complete Stories (Wordsworth Special Editions)

H G Wells HG Wells Classic Collection

H Rider Haggard King Solomon's Mines (Oxford World's Classics) She (Oxford World's Classics)

Jules Verne Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Wordsworth Classics)
and Robur The Conqueror

H P Lovecraft Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft: The Best Weird Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft (GOLLANCZ S.F.)

William Hope Hodgson The Casebook of Carnacki the Ghost Finder (Wordsworth Mystery & Supernatural) (Tales of Mystery & the Supernatural) The House on the Borderland (Penguin Classics)

These are a small fraction of the more obvious ones. Jess Nevins has done companion books for the first two volumes and the Black Dossier where he explains the literary references. These are a great resource for the weird fiction fan and will produce vast reading lists.
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The thought-criminal Alan Moore once more allies himself with the enemies of the Country that nurtured him in another exercise in name-dropping featuring Captain Nemo’s daughter. This time it is 1941 in the universe of fictitious characters, and Germany is at war with someone or other, the Germany of Adolph Hynkel, who, allied with the robot from Lang’s Metropolis and Doctor Caligari, is going about his nefarious business. Nemo’s 15-year-old daughter has apparently been captured along with her husband (the 15-year-old’s that is, not Nemo’s), Robur, and Nemo and husband Jack set out for Berlin to rescue them. They are helped along the way by Doctor Mabuse, and meet Ayesha, She-who-must-be-obeyed, who is one of Hynkel’s allies, and a mortal enemy of Nemo. There is much spectacular stage-dressing, as Lang’s Metropolis is the new Berlin (or the old Berlin in now Metropolis), and there is much speaking in German, and a little French, without the aid of editorial translation. That’s about it.

The artwork is spectacular, but the plot is quite thin. If you like these little books of Mr Moore, then you will find this one to your taste. I enjoyed it more than the previous volume Nemo: Heart of Ice, as there was actually a plot, and not just a fit of pique. Half the dialogue being foreign was a mild annoyance, but probably not as annoying as if I understood it.

A minor quibble – down our way, the river that runs through Berlin is the Spree, a tributary of the Havel, and not the Elbe, as in Nemo’s universe.
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on 12 March 2014
To my amazement, this was an Alan Moore book that I difficulty summoning enough interest to finish. That's never happened before, even with such largely pointless works as 'Fashion Beast' Moore normally makes compulsive reading. But this time, no. In fact I couldn't bring myself to actually finish it: the last three pages were too much for me, and a quick scan indicated that they were just too, too flat, stale and unprofitable.

So, what has happened?

First, the obsessive magpie-like reference making that started with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has now become so dominant that it has completely taken over from plot or character. Far too many pages are spent introducing reference after reference to the films of Fritz Lang and others that then bear no fruit. They exist only in order to exist, and to give the comics equivalent of train-spotters something to tick in their little books of 'things Alan Moore has referenced.'

Second, the plot (such as it is) is almost entirely pointless, and simply seems to be an excuse to manoeuvre Nemo into Berlin in the '40s so as to give Moore and O'Neill a chance to produce lots of pseudo-Art-Deco pastiche, introduce the obligatory brothel scene, roll out once again the tired old anti-German paranoia, and finally kill lots and lots and lots of bad people. Yup, that's it. In as far as it has any point, it simply ties up the loose end from Heart Of Ice, which was in itself not an especially necessary piece of writing.

Third, O'Neill's art work here is looking distinctly tired. In particular, for those familiar with the style of Metropolis, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, etc, his re-imagining of it is sadly disappointing, with a certain crudeness and even uncertainty of line that is usually not characteristic of his work. Similarly, the character composition, particularly in two-shots in the first few pages, is often extremely ungainly, and often verges on self-caricature. Perhaps he, if not Moore, is aware that this franchise has gone about as far as it can.

Fourth, why does Moore find it appropriate to put pages and pages of text in German? I speak German reasonably well, but without a dictionary this was hard work. What's wrong with the old convention of putting translated text in brackets? Does Moore think it makes him look clever, or more literary somehow?

Fifth, though I know this is extraneous to the piece itself, after reading Moore's recent rants about how every comics in the world is absolutely terrible except for him (and possible Neil Gaiman), it was more than a little odd to find him doing everything he decried as an abomination: stories existing solely for the purpose of the fight scenes; stealing other people's ideas; superheroes; Nazis. Moore may not see the irony, but it's very hard for the reader not to.

So, basically, I think it's time for Moore to wind up this series. It's a shame, because the first three League books were excellent, but from Century onward, there has been a general downhill path into cultural references becoming the entire purpose of the book. What Moore needs, of course, is a good editor. Rather like Karen Berger was to him before he decided she was a Bad Person. But at the moment he seems in a position to publish anything he pleases, which is no doubt good for his pocket, even if it won't be for his reputation.
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on 5 April 2015
Great artwork as per usual but the story is spoilt by pages of conversation in german, also, I found this Nemo series to be short, basic and lacking in the intricate and complex plots that Alan Moore has produced in the past (from hell, watchmen, LOEG)
A lot more could have been done with this character.
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on 3 March 2014
I snapped up this book digitally because I simply couldn't wait for the physical version to be published!

I'm enjoying the Nemo books quite a bit more than I thought I would, considering they're essentially just spin-off stories from the fantastic League of Extraoardinary Gentlemen series. And whilst I still miss the League's characters, Nemo is a very good runner up.

Roses of Berlin continues in the same literary mash-up vein as the League, this time incorporating a lot of references to Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Yes, there is a lot of German dialogue (more than my 15-year old German GCSE can help me with!) and, no, I'm not sure why, but it doesn't ruin the book. The story zips along, there's plenty of action, and of course (this being an Alan Moore book) a fair bit of nudity...

The Nemo books may be shallower than the League series, but they're still hugely enjoyable romps, and I hope there are many more to come! Now to re-read Heart of Ice...
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on 17 March 2014
These diversions into the life of Captain Nemo's daughter continue to be highly entertaining, and she continues to be the League's most interesting character. This time we find ourselves in 40's Berlin, with Chaplin's DICTATOR and Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS. It's an interesting mix and Moore, the master of the literary mash-up makes it work.

This is largely a simple adventure tale, with not much in the way of hidden meaning or commentary, but in this way it reminds me of the early League volumes.

Fun, entertaining, recommended.
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on 11 April 2014
It's a good book - the plot is exciting and fast paced and I read it cover to cover and greatly enjoyed it.

Some people appear to have a big problem with the German - I've got to admit it was a little annoying that swathes of speech did little to add to the story - but it's a graphic novel so the pictures explained quite alot. And to be just shows up how ignorant westerners are who's primary language is English are. Many Europeans are fluent in their own language, the languages of their neighbouring countries and English. So more a point of shame than annoyance. I'm happy to say the French towards the end wasn't a problem - so not a complete disaster.

So yeh - good book - good story - good illustration - some German - but not enough to give the book a miss altogether.
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on 4 March 2014
The Roses Of Berlin is a triumphant return to Moore's more action-oriented works, and reaches a new high for the general success of his literary mashup League series.

I loved Heart Of Ice, the first Nemo story, and while Jules-Verne-meets-HP-Lovecraft seems wonderful on paper, the story was inconsistent, oblique and a bit too challenging for a short graphic novel. The Roses of Berlin fixes all these issues and throws a whole load of action, adventure and character development into the mix. Moore has toned down the usual barrage of sex, hard drugs and mysticism that crowds his recent work, instead opting for a classic-style rescue/revenge mission in a sinister and exciting setting.

Set in Fritz Lang's Metropolis in 1941, the story is an intense mixture of early science fiction and World War 2 politics - in the League's world Hitler is replaced by Adenoid Hynkel, the parody of Hitler played by Charlie Chaplin.

When her loved ones are shot down in flames and held captive in Berlin, Janni (the second Captain Nemo) travels with her husband Broad Arrow Jack on an infiltration mission to rescue them. We get heaps of action in this volume, including Nemo's harpoon-machine-pistols, a new miniature submarine called the Nautiloid, Maria the female robot, an evil league of German supervillains including Dr. Caligari and a battle with an old and fearsome foe.

Kevin O'Neill remains one of the most interesting and important comic illustrators of his age but he's really stepped up his game here - the art is simply jaw-dropping. To go into specifics would ruin the magic but the climax of the book is a nice call-back to the very first volume of the League.

There are some sections where the dialogue is in German but this does not serve to hide important plot threads, rather it reinforces what the reader has already been told and builds the atmosphere well.

The League has tended to be a hit-and-miss series but this short and self-contained volume aims high and hits every mark. A very satisfying read.
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on 27 April 2014
I should’ve stopped after the first page which warned me this book was another episode in Alan Moore’s Journey Up His Own Backside because the first page is written entirely in German. Untranslated German. And not just the odd word like “ja” or “guten tag”, but packed panels of dialogue which non-German readers - ie. most people picking up this ENGLISH version of the book - won’t be able read unless they pull out their English/German dictionaries or type all the dialogue into Google Translate - none of which I did because why should I? That’s not isolated to the opening page either, several pages throughout this brief book have lots of untranslated German dialogue.

So it’s 1941 and Janni’s 15 year old daughter’s blimp has been shot down over Germany and she and her husband (who, by the way, looks to be in his late 30s) have been taken prisoner. Janni and her husband journey deep into the underground heart of the weirdly mechanised German regime to rescue them.

I’ve read all three parts of the Nemo series and have to wonder what the point of it all is. Book 1 - Janni leaves her dad to work in a brothel, then decides to burn half of London; Book 2 - Janni goes to Antarctica where Moore writes a terrible parody of HP Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness; Book 3 - Moore gets Kevin O’Neill to draw boobs amidst lots of imagery taken from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Why? And why is the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen still continuing with a character who wasn’t even in the League?!

Janni’s not a particularly interesting character - she’s monotone, competent, and more-or-less personality free. Her story has been unnecessary and, for the most part, unimaginative. All Moore seems to be doing is referencing other, better works of art in his increasingly pointless comics, but so what - who reads a book for the references over the story? This entire book - which, at roughly 50 pages, is more of an extended single issue than a book - is a straightforward action montage of characters firing guns or sword-fighting with explosions going on in the background. That’s it?!

I read this because, as some of you may know, Moore is a very vocal critic of contemporary comics and I wanted to see what his comics were like - you know, see how to do comics “right”. And what did I read? Contrived scenes with forgettable action, trite dialogue (those that I could read that is), stiff, two-dimensional characters, and an unengaging, paper-thin “story”.

Alan, I think you need to start taking a look at your own work before you blanket-assess the rest of the comics world with your uninformed, derogatory opinions.
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