I think its safer to review both volumes of this awesome graphic novel in one post rather than make an individual update for each. Of the two, I enjoyed volume 2 a lot more, but I think my appreciation of volume 1 was tainted by the horrible movie rendition I saw about 6 years ago.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vol 1 by Alan Moore. Illustrations by Kevin O’Neil.
This graphic novel pays an homage to the classic novels of yesteryear. Each character in this novel is a profound and famous literary character from 19th century literature. Captain Nemo from 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea, D. Jekyll his monstrous alter ego Mr. Hyde, Hawley Griffin (the Invisible Man), Alan Quartermain the daring adventurer of King Solomon’s Mines and the group leader, Miss Mina Murray (formerly Harker, from Bram Stoker’s Dracula) are recruited by the mysterious head of the secret Service known as M via Campion Bond. The setting is 1998, and volume really just sets the foundation for the characters. The volume begins with Minna searching for Alan Quatermain in Cairo, nearly dying from an opium addiction. As the story progress, Minna and Alan come across their band of unlikely heroes as they must fight against another 19th century villian intent on bombing the East Side of London.
As the foundation story, there is more time spent on the characters personalities than plot. Each character is unique, and I’m sure a very accurate representation of the original 19th century figure of the classical works. The writing is descriptive, yet terse. As a graphic novel, the visuals are gripping. There are lots of dark tones reflecting the dark passages of the story. What I love about graphic novels is that often a single image says much more than any prose could accomplish.
FINAL GRADE: A-
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vol 2 by Alan Moore. Illustrations by Kevin O’Neil.
In volume 2, we yet again meet our team of misfits in a storyline that is in tribute to HG Wells. I am thankful I’ve read 2 HG Wells novels this year, because both The Island of Dr. Moreau as well as War of the Worlds heavily influence this collection. We start with pods dropping from the sky in London, and soon incinerating everything that comes near. Soon, our group is set on a mission to defeat these monstrous aliens from Mars.
This book has a lot more action, and since I had read both the major works of literature referenced throughout the graphic novel, it was more enjoyable since I was able to laugh at the inside-jokes that Moore creates. The story here seemed more focused than the first volume. The group is already established, and relationships are beginning to form as the characters are starting to let their guards down and become friends. Like volume 1, Kevin O’Neil’s illustrations capture more emotion and reflect the essence of the story in a remarkable way. There are segments of both volumes were the writing is in a foreign language and the reader needs to look at the visuals to understand the plot. Although some may skim over these pages (they are mostly in the beginning of both volumes) I think it is an incredible tool for any author to use. You are in a different part of the world, and therefore, English is not spoken by those who live there. The characters are witty, sensitive and full of surprises. If you love 19th century literature, then these two graphic novels are perfect for your reading tastes.
FINAL GRADE: A+