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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 April 2005
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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on 18 August 2015
The start of a tedious trilogy. I have found nothing of interest or to sympathize with in the characters. The plot ultimately goes nowhere for nothing, and the artwork is poor. The only fun was looking out for the references, but of course that isn't good enough reason to write the story.
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on 7 October 2017
It's one of those ideas that seems so obvious once someone else suggests it. The greatest literary heroes working together in one team to thwart an evil plan. Give it a read!
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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 detail in the lovingly crafted art work, embrace the flawed characters a little more, and find some bizarre in joke.
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on 18 October 2017
As described and very quick delivery
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on 16 May 2014
It wasn't up to the standard of the other books , still not a bad read tho , hence 3 stars
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on 18 July 2009
I loved the other books in the series. This one - Well I just did not get it. Nothing happened, there was no plot development.

Another reviewer said it was better on a second reading - I don't think I'll bother.
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VINE VOICEon 6 June 2009
On the first, I reacted pretty much the same as the other reviewers, dashing off a two-sentence synopsis to a friend and telling him not to bother.

On the second reading I began to appreciate it more though, although readable, it's actually less accessible than some of Moore's other works (the first two LOEG volumes for example). I can understand why other reviewers were disappointed because the League appears relatively ineffectual in the story which itself is very separate from the other plot strand until the very end. We expect our heroes to, if not always win, at least have a significant effect. Here they are misled and ineffective.

The other part of the story concerns what happens to Nemo's daughter in London's East End, and not very pretty it is either, told in the manner of Brecht's Threepenny Opera with her as Jenny Diver and Macheath as a returning Jack the Ripper.

Operas tend to have prologues and this LOEG volume is essentially the prologue to the new series. What happens here will resonate in later volumes later in the century so it's certainly unfair to dismiss future parts on the basis of the first. However I can understand people who didn't like The Black Dossier (I do, a lot), not liking this as it's more in keeping with TBD's tone than with the first two books.

I particularly liked the Prisoner of London, trapped in space but not in time.

There seems to be some confusion over the identity of Quartermain Jnr. As far as I am aware he is Allan Quatermain made immortal by going, with Mina Murray, through Ayesha's fire. Oliver Haddo is the equivalent of Aleister Crowley in a W. Somerset Maugham story.
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on 29 April 2014
Best read with a google prompt close to hand... And project Gutenberg charged and ready for much downloading of free fiction.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 27 June 2009
latest league of extraordinary gentlemen comic. on the offchance you've never read one of these before - or seen the movie - then these are comics set in a world where all fictional characters are real, and various ones with special abilities have worked for british intelligence down the years.

this one pretty much starts things afresh as it comes from a different publisher than before and has a relatively new team from previous stories, but new readers are better off starting with the first volume The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as it's probably a little more accessible for them.

this is 72 page story, formatted like a publication of old with fake edwardian adverts and a drawing of the creators right after [who take an amusing little dig at their former publishers in it. they had a few disagreements].

the league here features mina murray from dracula, who was in previous volumes. alan quartermain jr, son of the original [supposedly] ghost hunter thomas karnacki from the works of william hope hodgson, stamford raffles the famour thief, and rather excitable androgynous immortal orlando. all are working to find the truth behind karnacki's visions of a terrible disaster.

meantime captain nemo is dying, and his daughter runs away to london. her attempts to escape her past and the league's investigations will collide, with horrible consequences.

swearing and nudity and adult situations and gory violence mean this is a comic strictly for adults only, and perhaps not to the taste of some of them, so approach with caution. the art by kevin o'neill is as wondrously detailed as usual, and there are so many nice little touches and references in it that you could read this many times and still not find everything. as a story though this is good but not the best of moore's work because it's the beginning of a story that will cover several volumes, taking the league across the twentieth century. It's got it's moments, though - the highlight for me being a scene where raffles admits he fears the onset of war because he'd feel duty bound to volunteer to fight to make up for past misdeeds - and as a whole there's enough in here to make me want to know what will happen next.

maybe I'll up the star rating when I do.

there's also a short text piece at the front which is presented as the first chapter of a novel telling about things certain characters in the story do over the course of quite a few years. difficult to see where this is going as well. But we shall find out in due course.

a pretty good start to the series.
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