Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nemo: The Roses of Berlin

Sometimes, there really are no words to describe a particular feeling--at least in one's own language.  That's why images and gifs are so fantastic when blogging.  At first, I hated the use of gifs.  I will now amend that statement to encompass only book reviews that are entirely composed of fangirling gifs or some variant thereof.  These reviews generally are put up months before a book is even published or available as an advanced copy, and thus are excessively irritating.

However, it's quite difficult to articulate my precise feelings about Nemo: The Roses of Berlin succinctly.  Mostly, it's like this:

This book should never have been written, and I don't say that often.  It serves primarily as a platform for Alan Moore to "show off" his ability to shamelessly lift other people's ideas and turn them into an obfuscated stew of self-congratulatory blathering.  Much of which is in German, with zero translation.

Yep, that's right!  It's World War II, and Janni Nemo and her husband are off in the Nautilus to rescue their daughter, Hira, and her husband, who crashed their airship and are now in the custody of the Nazis.  Except it's not like actual historical Nazis, it's Adenoid Hynkel running the show!  Ooh, looky, somebody's seen The Great Dictator.  Janni and Jack start their covert op in Berlin and are promptly ambushed.  They flee into the bowels of the city as designed by Carl Rotwang (complete with Moloch!), and yep, all of the artwork and concepts are pulled straight from Fritz Lang's Metropolis, which is probably my favorite silent film of all time and definitely in my top ten film list.  Doctors Mabuse and Caligari are part of the criminal underworld who create new weapons for Hynkel, like soldiers who fight while they're asleep (why????).  I'm surprised Lola Lola didn't come prancing past because hey, let's just throw in all the famous German movies!  I struggled to find one original thought in this book.  I'm still struggling.

Then Ayesha, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, shows up and has a Grrrl Power moment with the Machine Man (Woman), but Janni fights her and what do you think happens?  

The other insanely irritating thing about this book is Moore's insistence on writing full pages in German with no translation.  Thankfully, because I come from a state that is quite full of Germans, I took some German in high school and could muddle my way through the sentence structure, although I did need my dictionary for certain words.  Most people are just going to have to plug this into a translator, which is a) irritating and b) irritating and c) a failed attempt at being intellectual.  

I liked Heart of Ice much better, because while it obviously referenced At the Mountains of Madness, I don't remember it being so word-for-word with the source material as this one is with Metropolis.  

To sum up: this is an utterly pointless book with precisely zero redeeming characteristics.

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