“Frankly, I like the odds better if I'm in a tank.”
Heart of Ice is a standalone work that’s nevertheless a part of Moore and O’Neill’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series. You’ll need to have knowledge of the previous books, particularly the Century trilogy, if you want to know how the main protagonist got to be how she is.
It merges the traditional pirate adventure story with the world of one of America’s most celebrated horror writers (circa 1930).
Like before, some character names are changed or purposefully omitted to avoid legal action. My knowledge of penny dreadfuls is almost zero, so I wasn't familiar with over half of them. I'd to go to Wikipedia just to find out who the hell the main antagonists were. The ones I did recognise (an African queen and a notorious 1920’s publishing tycoon) had very little to do with anything once the story got under way. The fast pace leaves little time for any of the secondary characters to make an impact.
For me, Moore’s repeated use of violence in his portrayal of women isn't a negative thing. I think the opposite is true: the women hold their own in a world of vile masculinity. That strength and power of the female is again to the fore.
Janni (Nemo) is a worthy substitute for Mina. She’s equally as driven and equally as determined to shake off the shackles of her male forbearers. If the story had the same depth as her then it’d have been much more entertaining.
The swift move from place to place required artist O’Neill to jump from a world of steampunk contraptions to a world of tentacled horror. Somehow he made it work like he always does. The League world is as much his as Moore's.
3 giant penguins out of 5