Way back in late summer 2009, I was thinking ahead to the inevitable Year’s Best list we at LBW would be working on (it was convention season, and at the time, we were being inundated with major releases). I knew that, when the time came to write them up, I would have a difficult time remembering stuff that came out earlier in the year--this is, after all, why the movie studios save their award hopefuls until December—and that I should start compiling an ongoing list of things to write about when the time came. I only got around to one entry (so much for ongoing), and most everything I jotted down (Batman & Robin, Tales Designed To Thrizzle, Parker, Asterios Polyp, Wednesday Comics) got at least a mention from my fellow bloggers or myself in last week’s “Best Of 2009” entries. However, despite all my smug boasting about how useful this list would prove to be, I never actually consulted the danged thing, relying instead on my memory. And this reliance on my increasingly faulty brain, dear readers, is how I ended up ignoring a pretty obvious contender for any “Best Of” list…League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. III: Century Book One.
I favorably reviewed LOEG: Century when it was first released, added it to my preliminary “Best Of” list when the time came, then…promptly forgot it when I was assembling my final list. An argument could be made that, since I didn’t remember it in December, then it wasn’t all that memorable to begin with. While I may not have enjoyed it as much as previous installments—a lot of the characters and references were lost on me this time around—I still dug it a lot more than most of the superhero books from the Big Two in 2009, and more than a lot of indie titles besides. I love the rejiggered format being tried out by new publisher Top Shelf (three self-contained 80-page albums, roughly a year apart, comprising one big, century-spanning adventures), I love the continuation of Captain Nemo’s career through his mysterious daughter, I love Kevin O’Neill’s fastidiously detailed and grotesquely populated artwork, and I love how Alan Moore, as he’s done so well in V For Vendetta and Top Ten, perfectly incorporates musical numbers into his narrative (not too many writers in this particular field have mastered this one—I’m actually hard pressed to think of any, but I feel like there’s a really obvious one that came out this year that I just can’t recall right now).