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Though infamously turned into a pretty awful film, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen started life as a reasonably entertaining comic book, sort of a Justice League of Victoriana. Its author, Alan Moore, has been a wildly praised comics writer since he revitalized DC's Swamp Thing, back in 1983, and is perhaps most revered in the industry for The Watchmen.

The concept for League is that a group of heroes and anti-heroes from late-19th/early 20th century adventure literature are brought together to fight a mysterious evil-doer. The "good" guys include: Mina Harker (Dracula); Captain Nemo (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea); Allan Quartermain (King Solomon's Mines,/a>); Rodney Skinner (Invisible Man); Dr. Henry Jekyl1 (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde); Auguste Dupin (Murders in the Rue Morgue); and Mycroft Holmes (adventures of Sherlock Holmes). Their foes include: Dr. Fu Manchu and Professor James Moriarty. Most of the fun in this introductory tale comes just from seeing these beloved characters come on stage and from their interactions. Mr. Moore has tossed in a few sly twists: we first meet Quartermain in an opium den and Skinner in a boarding school where the girls he's been impregnating think a mystical force is responsible. But the story is really just an excuse to gather the gang. Artist Kevin O'Neill renders things in appropriately dark and cluttered fashion, with numerous visual jokes. It's all a bit bloodier than need be--especially for youngsters--and Mr. Hyde in particular is excessive in terms of both his size and his violence. Nonetheless, the premise is beguiling enough to carry the exercise and you'll especially enjoy it assuming you grew up loving the books in which the characters originally appeared.


(Reviewed:)

Grade: (B)

  

Websites:

Alan Moore Links:

    -FILMOGRAPHY: Alan Moore (IMDB.com)
    -INFO: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) (IMDB.com)
    -Alan Moore Fan Site
    -Alan Moore (COMICON.com)
    -PROFILE: Please, Sir, I Want Some Moore: The lazy British genius who transformed American comics (Douglas Wolk, Dec. 17, 2003, Slate)
    -INTERVIEW: THE ALAN MOORE INTERVIEW (Barry Kavanagh, 17 October 2000, Blather)
    -PROFILE: Give me Moore: Alan Moore's graphic novels brought him a huge cult following and now Hollywood loves him too. (Erin McElhinney, 06 July 2003, Sunday Herald)
    <>-REVIEW: of Major-League Entertainment: Moore and O'Neill's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Bryan A. Hollerbach, Strange Horizons)

Book-related and General Links:

Comments:

Absolutely. If it gets just one person to go back and read the original it's worthwhile.

- oj

- Jun-13-2005, 08:19

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Orrin,

I have one point of agreement with your review - it was indeed a pretty ordinary film. However, I have a really big beef with the whole concept that you appear to be condoning.

The characters being hijacked in this "graphic novel" come from some of the most popular - and indeed beloved - 19th Century novels. I know we live in an age where "franchises" are considered smart publishing (hey, look who has written the latest Zorro potboiler!!) but do you wish the disturbing trend which appeared to start with "Scarlett" to descend further down to a level where not even a followup book is produced & merely a cheap comic is all that is left of a classic that has fallen out of copyright?

I know we have already had "The Childrens Illustrated Bible" but are you prepared to live with a graphic version of "that dude paul's communication to the young cats in Tarsus" or (spare us) "the gripping narrative of how the Israelites spent forty years wandering round & round a mountain in one of the smaller deserts in the Middle East"

I did not think you would be so accepting of this genre.

Dave

- Dave Ansell

- Jun-13-2005, 06:22

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