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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Title: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Author: Alan Moore
Artist: Kevin O’Neill
Year: 1999

Facing serious problems at the turn of the 19th century, the British government assembles a diverse group of people to serve the interest of the crown. The characters are Mina Murray (from Bram Stoker’s Dracula), Alan Quartermain (from H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines), Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde (from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), the Invisible Man (from H.G. Wells’ novel with the same name) and Captain Nemo (from various works by Jules Verne). Together, they form The League of Extraordinary gentlemen to fight Fu Manchu (Sax Rohmer’s The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu).

The principal idea of using mysterious figures of Victorian fiction to create a unique setting is absolutely brilliant and I fell in love almost immediately. Not only do I like the Victorian era as such, but I happen to be interested in fantastic fiction from that time as well. I have a weakness for weird technology and this is certainly well-used throughout the story. Moore also uses a number of secondary characters, many of them from other famous authors of Victorian fiction (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, for instance).

However, a comic book needs more than a brilliant idea to succeed, so let me turn to the actual performance of Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, which is sadly not matching the eminence of the core concept. The former has done an adequate job in creating the intrigue, which is by no means marvellous in any way, but works just fine. The same goes for Kevin O’Neill; I cannot say that I am awestruck by his technique, but it works.

By way of conclusion, I have to say that this comic book could have been truly extraordinary, but since neither author nor artist excels, the end result is a bit disappointing. I still think it a good read, but the potential of the idea greatly surpasses the actual product.

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  1. thark’s avatar

    I pretty much agree 100% with everything stated above. :-)