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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, It is That Good!
If you're a fan of Victorian genre literature and have any interest in comics, this will very probably appeal to you. I'm a very casual comics reader, never buying any but borrowing anything that's at the library except for manga or pure superhero fare. As for 19th-century genre lit, when I was a child, I read some Stoker, H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, and the like...
Published on 22 April 2005 by A. Ross

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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ripping Yarn
Alan Moore plunders the dark side of Victorian literature, assembling a cast of period characters into a "superhero" team. This raid on the vaults is done in a subversie yet superficial style. Alan Quartermain starts as an opium adict, the Invisible Man gets his kicks raping girls of a St Trinian's persuasion. In a clever twist Mr Hyde resembles Marvel's Hulk, which in...
Published on 28 Feb 2009 by Amazon Customer


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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, It is That Good!, 22 April 2005
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Paperback)
If you're a fan of Victorian genre literature and have any interest in comics, this will very probably appeal to you. I'm a very casual comics reader, never buying any but borrowing anything that's at the library except for manga or pure superhero fare. As for 19th-century genre lit, when I was a child, I read some Stoker, H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, and the like. All that said, this is a highly entertaining work, probably the most purely enjoyable trade comic volume I've encountered.
The concept is pretty outstanding: Moore's taken public-domain "heroes" of the 19th-century and remixed them into a classic superhero team in the spirit of Justice League, X-Men, etc. They are tossed into a steampunk version of Victorian London to do battle with a nefarious villain from the same era of genre-lit. In this volume, the head of the British Secret Service orders his minion (Campion Bond), to assemble a team for a secret mission. He starts with Ms. Murray (the widowed wife of Mr. Harker from Dracula), who drags the gaunt former adventurer Allan Quartermain (the intrepid explorer of H. Rider Haggard's stories) from the depths of a Cairo opium den. They are spirited to safety by H.G. Wells' incomparable stern Sikh pirate, Captain Nemo, in his magnificent submarine technological wonder The Nautilus. Next stop, the backstreets of Paris, where a beast is terrorizing the prostitutes of the Rue Morgue. This ends up being the terrifying Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, whom they barely manage to subdue. The final stop is to the "Rosa Cootes' Correctional Academy for Wayward Gentlewomen", where a mysterious spirit has been "possessing" some of the boarders. This bizarre combination of boarding school and S&M academy is where we meet Hawley Griffin, aka The Invisible Man.
These initial adventures do a very good job of both establishing the marvelous setting and the individual nature of the five heroes. Each is a formerly respected, now somewhat fallen member of society. When a storyteller assembles such a team of flawed misfits, the result is usually either slapstick comedy or some form of redemption. In this case redemption is the order of the day, as the team is assigned to recover a stolen container of "cavorite", a mysterious compound which makes flight possible. It seems an evil Chinese East End triad leader named Fu Manchu has stolen it in order to build a superweapon. The remaining 2/3 of the book details their attempt to infiltrate his Bond-villainesque secret base and recover the material. A major plot twist halfway through reveals yet another literary criminal mastermind at work, one that many readers will have guessed at early on. Things build to a climactic and chaotic aerial battle above London's East End, with crazy fighting kites, firebombs, and plenty of wild action.
There's a lot to like in the book, notably an attention to detail that is head and shoulders above most graphic adventures. When Arabic and Chinese speaking characters are encountered, their dialogue is rendered in the actual script. The story and visuals are packed with 19th-century literary inside jokes that will reward repeated reading and the curious who seek out their meaning. (Alternatively, you can pick up Jess Nevins outstanding Unofficial Companion to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which decodes the inside jokes and tells you where everything came from.) This is not to imply that the book is stuffy or dull, because the writing is actually quite witty and arch -- providing you like puns, double-entendres, and other such wordplay. The artwork perfectly supports the story, as O'Neil's techno-gaslight London vibrates with energy and activity. The paneling is traditional and straightforward, as befits a retro-romp such as this, and full-page pieces teem with background activity and wit. There's a lot to look at in these pages, such as pickpockets and thieves operating in the background, or more amorous silhouettes... And when things get violent, they get very violent, as we are shown limbs getting ripped asunder, heads getting blown off, and soforth.
This is an outstanding work, although definitely not for younger children. Without being overly sensitive, one has to also keep in mind that in keeping with the setting and origin of the characters, one of the villains is a pretty vile stereotype of an evil "Oriental". Perhaps more disturbingly, the serial rape committed by the Invisible Man is treated as a subject of humor. This latter is slightly counterbalanced by having the team led by Ms. Murray, a setup which seems improbable for the setting. However, minor caveats aside, this is a splendid work of escapist adventure that is much better than the movie made from it. There is a second volume, which finds the team battling a Martian invasion.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Detailed Artwork, 24 Aug 2003
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This review is from: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Paperback)
Not only is the story fantastic (as many others have said), but the artwork is too. There is just so much detail in each frame that it took 3 reads before I found all of the little hidden extras! Even the front cover has a suprise (check near the cat). A really good read!
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first adventure of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, 7 Dec 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Paperback)
I knew they would never be a sequel to Alan Moore's classic comic series "The Watchmen" (and I wish Frank Miller had let well enough alone with "The Dark Knight Returns"), but certainly "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" is a kindred spirit in key regards. If the Watchmen were supposed to be superheroes that we recognized, even though we had never seen them before, then the League offers up recognizable fictional characters that we have never seen together before. Going back a century for inspiration, Moore creates a Pax Britannia circa 1898 where the "superheroes" are fictional characters who had been created by that particular point in time, to wit: Mina Murray (Harker) from Bram Stoker's "Dracula," Captain Nemo from Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea," Alan Quartermain from H. Rider Haggard's "King Solomon's Mines," and the titular characters of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and H. G. Wells' "The Invisible Man." There is also reason to believe that "M," the shadowy figure who orders the League about, might in fact be Mycroft Holmes (and if you do not know what literary series he is from then just totally forget about enjoying this series).
If that, in and of itself, is not enough of a hook to get your interested in checking out this collection of the first comic book adventure of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen let me remind you that Alan Moore is doing the writing. The artwork by Kevin O'Neill is certainly evocative of the turn of the last century, or, more to the point, does not look like a contemporary superhero comic book. Moore and O'Neill also maintain a wonderful conceit throughout the series of presenting the comics as being published at the time of the story, filled with wonderful "ads" that are often as interesting as the story (one of which actually required the initial print run of one of the issues to be destroyed, a story you will have to find related elsewhere, patient reader).
Moore's intention was to deal with a superhero group before all the clichés were established (again, similar to how "The Watchmen" was in a different reality unencumbered by the DC and Marvel universes). Seeing an obvious parallel between the Hulk and Jekyll/Hyde, Moore let his imagination roam in his alternate, technically more advanced version of Victorian London. The more you know about literary history from this period (e.g., Emile Zola's Nana is killed in the Rue Morgue by Hyde), the more you will enjoy all this work. But this first adventure for the League still works if late 19th-century fiction is not your forte. British Intelligence has discovered that cavorite, a material that makes flying machines possible, has been stolen by a mysterious Chinese figure (Oh, come on, take a wild guess who it has to be). Campion Bond of MI5 has been ordered to assemble a team of adventurers to retrieve the cavorite, which is crucial to the race to get to the Moon.
"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" is really much more fun than we usually associate with Moore's work. Certainly his tongue has never been further in his cheeks than with this series. The first three issues of Volume 2 have seen the light of day so far this year and if you read through this original endeavor you can quickly get up to speed with the current adventure. Just remember it is 1898 and Britannia waives the rules...
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I say, sah! Top drawer piece of writing, boss-wallah!, 23 Jan 2005
By 
Niall Mc Cann (Dundalk, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Paperback)
Everyone loves the premise, and most people have heard it: take various characters from various different victorian literary sources, and assemble them into a single superhero-style team. If you saw the film and were disappointed by how poorly they lived up to that premise, i can only beg you to give the comic a chance, because it bears very little relation to the silver-screen incarnation (why buy the rights to a book and then change every detail in the adaptation? i don't know, you'd have to ask the film-makers...).
This is a great book. It's brilliant fun, but it's also sometimes creepy (there are at least two team members who'd sooner gut the other characters than work with them) and occasionally thrilling. If you know anyhting about victorian literature you'll love playing spot-the-reference; i don't, but i've spent hours following up clues and leads on the internet, and i can assure you that even experts on the source material can find new, sneaky references after their fourth, fifth and dozenth read!
You don't have to follow them up though, it functions as a straight-up adventure story too. Like i say, I'd read Dracula, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, King Solomon's Mines and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr Hyde before i picked up League, and had naively thought myself reasonably knowledgable about the source material, but i've since had my pride bruised and my mouth well and truly shut. Luckily, you can go into the story as ignorant as you like and just enjoy it as a ripping good yarn.
It's got many, many levels, this one, and it functions perfectly on all of them. Great stuff!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary, and rather rum, 4 July 2003
This review is from: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Paperback)
What if you took some of those great heroes from Victorian fantasy literature and banded them together like super-heroes? Yes, in most hands you'd be left with a sticky derivative mess, but with the mastery of Moore on the case (not to mention the ever lively pen of Mr O'Neill) what you get is a charming little thriller, full of tension, drama and of course, bucketfuls of action.
Ridiculously well researched, but never overtly intellectual, this is one of the most fun books you'll read this year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Adventure, 27 Sep 2009
By 
This review is from: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Paperback)
If you're looking for something with pace and adventure then you can't go wrong with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Volume 1. Out of all the graphic novels I have read this is certainly one of the more accessible and enjoyable; though it does have a good share of dark humour and undertones.

In essence it's about British Intelligence pulling together a group of misfits who either have extraordinary unnatural gifts (mainly self-inflicted and not particularly pleasant)or who are renowned within the wider world for some reason or another, in which to help recover a very important device that threatens national security.

The main hook of the League is that all of the characters are very interesting - especially Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; you can also never be sure of the integrity and honour amongst them! I was quite shocked by one section where Mina Green (leader of the League)locates Hawley Griffin - I didn't expect to come across such an event like this (it did put a sour taste in my mouth.) Having read Volume II I can say that this is unfortunately topped and then some - so be prepared if you move on to the next in the series.

It's most certainly worth mentioning the artwork which really adds to the atmosphere and drama of the story. This is most certainly one of my favourite graphic novels and for sheer enjoyment it would be right up there. Parents please be aware that there are some very graphic scenes of violence and other material that would be considered inappropriate for children of a certain age. Otherwise...ENJOY!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Britannia waives the rules with some relish!, 12 Jan 2007
By 
H "H" (Ancient kingdom of Northumbria) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Paperback)
If you're a fan of victorian characters such as Dr Jekyl and Capt Nemo, or you are a comics fan wanting a good read, this book is for you!

Don't be put off by the movie, the book is infinitely better.

Buy the hard-back - you'll read it often enough to warrant the extra.

Superbe. Alan Moore at his best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars victorian villany and the best of britannia, 16 Oct 2000
Its victorian england and mysterious forces threaten the empire, MI5 enlists a new cadre of agents from to protect the empire, drawn from classic literature of the time. It begins with mina harker, the heroine of Bram stokers dracula tracking down her fellow adventurers from around the world to protect england, thus find out what happened to edward hyde, alan quatermain, captain nemo, and the invisible man when they become the league of extraodinary gentlemen. This was one of my favorite books of the year and look out for the cameos of a host of characters from victorian and classic literature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A work of graphic genius (in more ways than one)., 19 Sep 2009
This review is from: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Paperback)
This review could just turn into a great slab of incoherent gush but I'll do my best to keep it objective: Mr. Moore has never produced anything finer than Volumes One and Two of 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' and he's ably assisted on visuals by Mr. O'Neill at the very top of his considerable game. By now, you'll no doubt know the scenario: late in the 19th century, British military intelligence recruit a series of notables to form a covert espionage and intervention unit - the twist being that these notables are all themselves individually famous Victorian fictional characters. So Volume One's version of the League is led by Mina Murray (aka Mina Harker, from Bram Stoker's 'Dracula') and also includes H. G. Wells' 'Invisible Man', Jules Verne's Captain Nemo, Rider Haggard's Allan Quatermain and both of R. L. Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Now, you don't have to have read all the original novels to follow the plot but if you have read the originals, you'll be delighted at how true to the spirit of their sources Moore and O'Neill manage to be. I'll stick my neck out and say that Moore's take on (e.g.) the Invisible Man is the best rendering of the character since the original. Moore and O'Neill also get credit (at least from Jules Verne fans) for knowing that Captain Nemo was originally an Indian prince deposed by the British Raj. I could go on and on but really every page is a meticulously-rendered delight in words and pictures, full of incident, comedy and often genuine horror. Volume Two, wherein the League fight H. G. Wells' Martian invaders, is at least as much of a triumph as its predecessor. Comics don't get any better than this ... heck, I'm not sure life gets any better than this. Bravo, gentlemen, to the echo.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What can you ask for more?, 3 Oct 2009
This review is from: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Paperback)
Funny, ironic, poetic at times, wonderfully written, highly imaginative, learned, gorgeously illustrated... what can you ask for more? This is one of the masterpieces of the graphic novel form, and I think that it and its second part are the best example of steampunk fiction you may dream of both in graphic and traditional novel form. Alan Moore is one of the masters of comics, and by reading this you'll understand why he is. And then you'll want to read all the rest, Watchmen to From Hell...
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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Kevin O'Neill (Paperback - 29 Nov 2002)
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