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Rosesofberlin

Nemo: The Roses of Berlin is a 2014 graphic novel by author Alan Moore and artist Kevin O'Neill. It is the sequel to Nemo: Heart of Ice and, like that book, takes place in the universe of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

PlotEdit

The story is set in 1941 and begins in an unnamed African desert. Adenoid Hynkel - the Hitler-like dictator of Germany-Tomania - and his associates discuss a meeting with a royal personage with whom they share a mutual enemy.

Meanwhile, Janni Dakkar, her husband Broad Arrow Jack and the other crewmembers of the Nautilus are launching a successful raid on a German ship: as her daughter Hira has married the French aerial pirate Armand Robur, Janni has decided to focus on Axis craft. During the raid, she is horrified to hear that both Hira and Robur have been captured by German forces

Janni and Jack personally travel to Berlin, where they are confronted by a group of sleepwalking soldiers. Above these men stand a young-looking woman, Maria; an elderly man, Dr Mabuse; and a gas-masked figure in a wheelchair, Dr Caligari. These people are the surviving members of the "Twilight Heroes", which was once a five-person group.

The two pirates escape their attackers and get further into the hi-tech Berlin Metropolis, where they see a large screen showing a news report on Armand Robur's airship being shot down. Shortly afterwards they again run into Maria, once more accompanied by a group of sleep-commandos; Janni fires an explosive at them which kills the soldiers but leaves Maria standing.

The seemingly-invulnerable Maria proceeds to pull off her burning skin, revealing that she is actually a robot. Janni and Jack escape by jumping onto the roof of a passing monorail and later make their way to a brothel in which they meet Dr Mabuse.

Although officially involved with Hynkel's party, Mabuse turns out to have no love for the regime or his associates, Maria and Caligari. He opts to help the two pirates and reveals that Hira was not captured at all - this was merely a story concocted to lure Janni into a trap. In reality, Hira was left on the airship and presumably died when it crashed.

Mabuse also explains why the German forces are targeting Janni's family. While in Africa, the dictator made an alliance with the immortal queen Ayesha - who wants Janni Dakkar dead after the events of Nemo: Heart of Ice.

Janni and Jack reach Armand Robur's cell, blasting it open and rescuing him. Hynkel, who was watching Robur's torture from the next room, is discreetly shuffled away so that Maria, Caligari, Ayesha and the sleep-commandos are left to handle the pirates. Jack barges in guns blazing, only to be killed by Maria.

Meanwhile, Janni takes Robur to safety as he recovers from his torture. Janni then realises something: Robur's airship doubled as a submarine, meaning that Hira may have escaped. As she comes to this conclusion, the people of Berlin look up at the sky...

Robur's airship, now repaired and piloted by Hira, has arrived above the Berlin skyline and begins to bombard the city. Hynkel's forces catch up with Janni; she uses her remaining bullet to kill Caligari. Misinterpreting their master's final order, which was cut short by his death, the sleep-commandos open fire aimlessly, killing themselves and destroying Maria.

After this altercation, only Janni and Ayesha are left standing. The two take part in a decidedly Highlander-esque swordfight that ends with Janni decapitating the immortal queen. Hira then descends in a lift from the airship and takes both Janni and Robur aboard.

Having nearly lost her daughter, Janni vows to abandon piracy - after one last action, which is to bomb the Berlin Metropolis. The book's endpapers show the city in flames and escaped prisoners cheering amongst the rubble.

"The Johnson Report: Princess Dakkar of Lincoln"Edit

HildyJohnson

Hildy Johnson

The book contains a text feature that follows on from the one printed in Nemo: Heart of Ice. It is again attributed to Hildy Johnson from the film His Girl Friday, now coming out of retirement to interview Janni Dakkar on the former pirate's seventieth birthday (placing the setting of the text at around 1965). Also attending the birthday celebrations are Ursula Mabuse, Dr Mabuse's daughter; and Manfred Mors, grandson of Captain Mors from the Der Luftpirat und sein Lenkbares Luftschiff (The Pirate of the Air and his Navigable Airship) series that began in 1908.

The feature fills in some of the plot details between Roses of Berlin and the upcoming Nemo: River of Ghosts. Janni continued to fight the Axis for the rest of the war, taking time to help refugees such as the benevolent troll population of Finland. After the war, she made strikes against the Communist regime of the American President Mike Thingmaker and the Ingsoc Party of Britain. During this time she also went up against various nuclear mutants and alien invaders, including a giant saurian off the coast of Japan. It also establishes that Armand Robur is currently facing an unknown fate in French Indo-China, and that Hira has an infant son named Jack - who had already appeared in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 2009 as an adult.

The piece ends with the revelation that Janni is haunted by ghosts from her past and that somebody claiming to be Ayesha is currently residing in Africa, despite the queen's apparent death in 1941.


CharactersEdit

Dakkar's crewEdit

DakkarRobur

Left to right: Hira Dakkar, Armand Robur, Janni Dakkar

The protagonists are mostly carried over from Nemo: Heart of Ice and consist largely of original characters who are descended from earlier fictional creations. Janni Dakkar, who first appeared in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, is the daughter of Captain Nemo from Jules Verne's 1870 novel Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea); she is now in her forties, but still remarkably agile.

Her husband is an aged Broad Arrow Jack, from E. Harcourt Burrage's 1866 penny dreadful of the same name. Janni and Jack's daughter Hira Dakkar is an original character, as is her husband Armand Robur, who is the son of Jean Robur from Jules Verne's 1886 novel Robur-le-Conquérant (Robur the Conqueror). Both Hira and Armand were introduced in the text portion of Nemo: Heart of Ice.

TobiasIshmael

Tobias Ishmael breaks the bad news

Tobias Ishmael plays an incidental role towards the start of the book and was previously seen as an infant in Nemo: Heart of Ice. He is the son of Ishmael from Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick. His wife, Luala Ishmael, is mentioned in "The Johnson Report".

Hynkel's reichEdit

AyeshaHynkel

Adenoid Hynkel kisses the hand of Ayesha

Adenoid Hynkel, an obvious parody of Adolf Hitler, is the dictator of Germany-Tomania. He is lifted from the 1940 Charlie Chaplin film The Great Dictator; Chaplin used the fictional country of Tomania as a stand-in for Germany, while Alan Moore conflates the two countries into a single political entity - allowing Hynkel to take Hitler's place in the alternate history of the League series. When he first appears in the book Hynkel is accompanied by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, a historical figure.

ManMachine

The Man Machine's true form

The Man-Machine was created by the inventor Carl Rotwang (who is deceased by the time that Roses takes place) and is in charge of the Berlin Metropolis, adopting the appearance of a young woman for propaganda purposes. Using the precise calculations of her mechanical mind, she is able to predict almost every move made by Janni Dakkar. She originates in Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis, in which she is given the guise of a young woman named Maria to manipulate the city's workers.

Caligari

Dr Caligari

Dr Helmut Caligari is the man who controls the sleepwalking soldiers that pursue Janni and Jack. Of advanced age, he rides a steampunk wheelchair and wears some sort of breathing apparatus. He is taken from the 1919 film Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr Caligari), in which he causes a sleepwalking assassin to commit murders. The first name "Helmut" is Moore's creation: in the film he is known simply as "Dr Caligari" - which is actually a pseudonym, as he is revealed to be a madman imitating a historical figure by that name. Moore's portrayal of the character is possibly influenced bt Siegfried Kracauer's 1940 book From Caligari to Hitler, which famously interpreted Dr Caligari - a corrupt authority figure who manipulates a sleeping civilian into becoming a killer - as a premonition of Nazism.

Dr Werner Mabuse is a criminal mastermind who is officially associated with Hynkel's regime, but who helps Dakkar to fight against it. He originates in Norbert Jacques's 1921 novel Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (Dr Mabuse, the Gambler).

Ayesha is an immortal African queen who is seeking revenge on Janni Dakkar following the events of Nemo: Heart of Ice, and so alligns herself with Hynkel in an attempt to reach her goal. She is lifted from H. Rider Haggard's novel She.

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