Like the first brilliant volume in the series, this installment will appeal to fans of both Victorian genre literature and modern comics. While it doesn't quite reach the heights of Volume 1, it's still an entertaining concept with a decent story and great art. Following a rather bizarre opening battle scene on Mars (featuring John Carter of Mars and Gulliver), Moore's public-domain "heroes" of the 19th-century British Secret Service (Ms. Murray, the widowed wife of Mr. Harker from Dracula, gaunt ex-adventurer Allan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, the terrifying Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Hawley Griffin, aka The Invisible Man) are assembled to investigate mysterious meteors which have struck outside of London.
These meteors turn out to be invaders from Mars, and a "War of the Worlds" plotline unfolds, as the tripod aliens start incinerating everyone with their death rays and march on a steampunky Victorian London. As in the first volume, much of the storytelling revolves around the characters' relationships with one another, and here we're treated to a dreadful betrayal, a rather shocking (and graphically gross) affair, vengeance, and sacrifice. It's wonderfully written and the visual attention to detail is outstanding -- both story and art are packed with 19th-century literary inside jokes that will reward repeated reading. Especially prominent is the no longer isle-bound Dr. Moreau and his creations, who live sequestered in a British forest.
The artwork is once again pitch perfect throughout, with straightforward paneling jam-packed with detail. For example, a nice piece of dark character-based humor is found in the background of one early panel. The heroes survey the landscape just after a host of innocent citizens have been burned to cinders by the aliens, and while some talk in the foreground, Hawley Griffin is nonchalantly lighting a cigarette from a burning branch. For the Dr. Moreau part, the art is flatter and much more vividly colored, reminiscent of an old-fashioned children's book, albeit one with a good measure of weirdness.
The book comes with plenty of extras, including an amusing "Chutes and Ladders" type game, a lengthy gazetteer of lost worlds, original cover art, and other such tidbits. On the whole, while not quite as amazing as Volume I, this is still much much better than most stuff on the market, both in terms of writing and artwork. A word of caution, the book is not intended for young children. The violence can be rather graphic and there is graphic sexual material.
on 3 March 2016
** spoiler alert ** Quite a disappointment after the richness, complexity and wit of volume one. A stunning opening chapter whets the appetite, but thereafter the plot meanders in several directions at once, none of them satisfying. The members of the league (and writer Moore) seem more interested in internal frictions within the group than the threat they are facing. O'Neill's artwork is as accomplished as ever, and Jekyll has an interesting scene, but Nemo is given nothing whatsoever to do, and the "clever" references to other famous literary characters seem perfunctory and pointless.
At the end Moore splits the group up as if wishing to put an end to the series. I think he made the right choice. You're better off re-reading volume one instead.
"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume 2" collects the six issues put out by Mr. Alan Moore & Mr. Kevin O'Neill. The great conceit that Moore and O'Neill came up with was to create a late 19th-century version of a group of superheroes based on literary creations from that time period (in many ways the opposite of the legendary "Watchmen" series). Back again are the core group: Allan Quatermain from H. Rider Haggard's "She," Captain Nemo from Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," Mina Murray from Bram Stoker's "Dracula," Edward Hyde from Robert Louis Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Hawley Griffin from H.G. Wells's "The Invisible Man." The works of Wells become a major factor in Volume 2 as two more of his science fiction novels are worked into the tale. The first is "The War of the Worlds," as the League is called upon to save England from the Martian tripods. The second plays a decisive role in saving the day, but I think that deserves to be a surprise for the reader.
Things do not work as well the second time around, partly because the novelty of the idea has worn off and also because the members of the League are not particularly well suited to dealing with invaders from Mars. That might explain why the soap opera elements are a bit more prominent this time around as Miss Mina becomes romantically entangled with one of the gentlemen and Hyde kicks Jekyll out of the picture. Actually Hyde becomes the most interesting character in this story, although you will need a strong stomach to read about how he deals with the group's traitor. For that matter, you should be forewarned that this trade paperback might look like a collection of comic books, but these are not for little kids. This is not as intense as "From Hell," but Moore's readers have long known that he only provides stories that have mature content. Even when Moore is not blazing new territory or reinventing the wheel in some interesting way, he is still worth reading.
The stories are still presented as if they were being published late in the Victorian era, with ads and articles that add to the general sense of fun. I liked the final words of the penultimate issue which disparages any one who fails "to purchase our concluding number" as being "a sissy, coward, or girl." Yet Moore and O'Neil lampoon the Victorian sensibilities of their characters as much as anything, and despite some major setbacks at the end of the saga, we are told that there is now an intermission before the stories continues again. As always, it will be interesting to see what literary works serve as additional inspiration for the next endeavor, although after the less than inspiring movie I suspect Oscar Wilde might be out of the equation (or should we expect Lady Bracknell?).
on 10 June 2004
In this fascinating book, author Alan Moore returns once more to his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - a group of strange, yet capable men and women (well, woman, really) in Her Majesty, Queen Victoria's Secret Service. But now, the League faces its greatest threat - the War of the Worlds! Driven from Mars by John Carter and Lt. Gullivar, these foul creatures begin their conquest of Earth (as originally documented by H.G. Wells). The British government has a few tricks up its sleeves, but before this is all over mankind will face its gravest peril and treachery will split the League itself!
This is another fun and interesting book. I enjoyed seeing so many of my Victorian and Edwardian favorites exhumed and thrust into new adventures - John Carter of Mars, Major (later Colonel) Blimp, and Dr. Moreau. As for the story itself, I thought that it was OK. This is definitely not a story of heroes, but instead deconstructs the old heroes as raw materials for a postmodern story instead.
Let me clarify - the War of the Worlds itself was handled excellently, with lots of desperate action and adventure. However, the characters themselves don't seem to come together as nicely as in the first book. Unlike the first book, there are two sex scenes (well, three I suppose), but they are all rather disappointing. It's a dark story of war and death and treachery and surviving. Overall, I enjoyed it. Was it great literature? Heck no. But, it was a fun read and I do recommend it.
on 6 May 2014
The 2nd volume in Alan Moore's "League" series serves as a good sequel to the original.
This 6-part story is based on HG Wells' "War of the Worlds". The martians land on Earth, and the League (Mina Harker, Alan Quartermain, Mr Hyde, Harley Griffin and Captain Nemo) are tasked with investigating and stopping them. As I am a massive fan of Jeff Wayne's musical adaptation of this story, I had it playing in the background as I read it - amazing!
The plot is great, and like the first story, is filled with literature references, some obvious, some more secretive (spot Bleak House, Rupert the Bear and Mr. Toad in this one!).
However, the sex scenes seemed a little unnecessary perhaps, and the plot was a bit more simplistic in some places.
Having said this, Hyde's character is greatly developed in this one (and brutally so, poor Harley!). But the Invisible Man makes a stupid decision which doesn't really get explained methinks. I know he's scheming and greedy but really...?
The book is also filled with random fun miscellanea which is fun to read through, such as a pull-out boardgame.
However, the "New Traveller's Almanac" was a chore, and I only read the first chapter of it in the end (the British Isles). Now I treat Mr. Moore as something of a genius, but for one to understand this section, it seems one needs to have read, I don't know, every great work of literature written in England and America from Shakespeare onwards? I understand what he was doing (telling the history of the League and its world), but the content is so self-indulgent that unless you have read all these books, you'll get lost in the intelligent nonsense...
on 23 June 2013
Pastiches (crossovers of classic fiction) have been done before, but not quite like this. Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill create a universe where all fiction is in fact reality, notably Victorian fiction. The works of H. Rider Haggard, H. G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Fleming and countless others are references in this exciting comic book. There's plenty of Victorian satire, amusing innuendo and the illustrations are fantastic. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys steampunk and classic literature, or simply a brand new kind of comic book. Not for kids.
While the plot of Volume I is very original, featuring a gang war between Professor Moriarty and Fu Manchu in the climax, this volume uses the plot of a well known science fiction classic as the backdrop - H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. While the first few chapters simply repeat what we've read in The War of the Worlds, the story does eventually get going with its own unique plot. There's the romance of Mina and Allan and Mr. Hyde's morally-ambiguous sub-plot amidst Wells' classic invasion-horror, so the plot eventually relies on the characters heavily, so we're not too distracted with the alien invasion. In fact, I'm glad that the Martians themselves have a small physical role in the comic, because this is a superhero comic and we already saw plenty of the Wellsian terror in the Dreamworks film adaptation.
The solution to dealing with a certain traitor in the story is very unsettling. Without giving anything away, a certain other character commits a really repulsive physical "assault" on him, and it made me very uncomfortable. The bawdy scenes of Mina Murray and Allan Quatermain also go a little over the top in certain scenes, though it's obvious that this is Alan Moore's way of letting us know that the horrible "League" film adaptation starring Sean Connery will in no way anchor his work, and he's distancing himself from anyone simple enough to enjoy that abomination.
It's definitely a great read and is unlike any other comic book based on classic literature. If you love Victorian fiction and enjoy the thought of the characters mingling with each other, this is a comic for you.
on 5 April 2005
For those who've arrived at this page having seen the film let me just say, this is better. In fact it's not even in the same league (pardon the pun).
For those who bought the first book, let me also say (not that you'll likely need much persuasion), this is better. The characters and relationships are far more complex (as ever with Moore, nobody draws characters as fascinating and believeable - even Neil Gaiman). The action is more convincing, the in-jokes far, far more detailed (not least in the appendices where Moore and O'Neill present us with a gazetteer of the world which seems to encompass every 'lost world' or 'shangri-la' type story ever written, from pre-Christian tales to the 1930s pulp stories).
on 23 January 2015
This book (series) is equal parts work of visual beauty, interesting story and characters, literary wheres Wally puzzle. Every time you re read you will love the attention to detial in the lovingly crafted art work, embrace the flawed characters a little more, and find some bizarre in joke.
on 27 October 2004
This volume follows on straight after volume one and is Alan Moore's version of War of the Worlds. One again the level of detail in this story is quite astounding as once again Moore paints a darkly seductive tale of war, betrayal and revenge. Quite simply anyone who values strong stories and characters should read this, don't let the film put you off this is the real thing.
on 12 January 2013
I discovered the League, like most other people, thought the movie - but then went to the comics and in many ways find them more interesting and more complex. It brings together a huge range of literary references, from Burroughs to Wells via Stoker and, well, I lost count in the end. An enjoyable romp through popular victorian literature as the league play their part in defeating Wells' martian invasion.
The artwork was also enjoyably complex, and gave some realy nice interpretation to some classic literary themes.
Not high art, nor high literature, but an enjoyable way to spend a wet afternoon.