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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 2

1 rating: -1.0
A book by Alan Moore

Moore continues his trip through pulp genres with this second volume of The League. This collection includes plenty of faux-Victorian backup material, including the comic book series' original covers, and a lengthy prose short story by Moore. Although … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Alan Moore
Genre: Comics & Graphic Novels
Publisher: Wildstorm
1 review about The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol....

Definitely Disappointing

  • Sep 27, 2008
Rating:
-1
Alan Moore's first "League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen" installment sold itself more on mood, brooding but lighthearted, than it did on story, which I think had something to do with Chinese people in London; six months later I'm not exactly sure. But it was a very quick, devilishly deep read.

"Vol. 2" represents a rather dispirited return to the well, with the League very quickly in tatters and a main storyline, regarding Martians in London now, introduced with some of Kevin O'Neill's horrifically vivid illustrations and then passed over so we can watch the two principal characters in an R-rated sex scene. It didn't really grab me as a story, and as a mood piece put me off to the extent I had any sentimental attachment in the characters at all.

The 2004 comic book is clearly aimed at a cynical 20-something audience looking for something visually stimulating to go with their marijuana. I think that was the thinking behind the book, sort of like what the people behind the Pink Floyd records must have been thinking in the late 1960s, though without the latter's evidently more disciplined thinking. "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" was just a song to Floyd; for both the League creators, and some of its characters, it's a mantra.

There are a lot of surprises for those familiar with Volume 1, but they are almost uniformly of the nasty kind. The best involves the evolution of Mr. Hyde's character, though it raises an unanswered question as to what became of his alter ego Dr. Jekyll. The worst involve everyone else.

The action doesn't make much sense this time. What the Martians are after is not established. There seems an attempt by Moore to introduce the Edgar Rice Burroughs character John Carter, who was famously bounding around Mars at the time this story is set. But after a brief introduction, he is quickly forgotten as the story moves on two tracks. In one, the Martians lay waste to 1898 London while Capt. Nemo, no Brit-lover he, does what he can to fight them on the Thames. In the other, Allan Quartermain and Mina Murray go off to meet Dr. Moreau, who has something in a small box designed to make an impactful difference on the creatures. Piano-playing midget, perchance?

It finally is brought together in a haphazard way. I like the title of another review here: "Nothing. Happens." Couldn't say it better myself. Worse follows with a long prose piece, "The New Traveler's Almanac", that reveals the depth of Moore's scholarship of chapbook literature, and extends it up through the end of the 20th century. Sometimes clever, this was a bit too much in the end like reading that part of the Bible where "Azub begat Nerab, and Nerab begat Neshaw etc.".

Moore likes making his comic books this way; no doubt Vol. 2 is far closer to the version of "League" he originally wanted to do in the first place, dark in tone, nasty in spirit, and full of rapes. I'll give it an extra star for Hyde and for O'Neill's still-arresting artwork, but I think I'll pass on future League activities from here on out.

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