22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
I was quite fascinated with the first volume of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." I expected the second volume to be just as fascinating as the first. This time out Alan Moore begins the story on Mars with characters from Edgar Rice Burroughs' series of Mars books starring John Carter. The creatures leaving Mars are doing so because John Carter and the Martians of Edgar Rice Burroughs' stories were preparing to deal with them permanently.
On Earth we meet with the beloved, though somewhat psychopathic, characters of the first book once again. Similar to Robert Heinlein's novel "The Puppet Masters," we see mysterious cylinders land and watch the reaction of the locals. Of course the initial reaction is one of curiosity, as no one suspects the danger presented by those within the cylinder. When the first people die we realize that, just as in the original H.G. Wells novel and in "The Puppet Masters," that these creatures are will not negotiate, preferring to extinguish us instead.
The five central characters, Allan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, Mina Murray, Hawley Griffin, and Edward Hyde, set out to examine the cylinders. After realizing the danger the cylinders impose, M plots a course carefully, eventually leading to the addition of a new character, Dr. Moreau, and a group of creatures endowed by Dr. Moreau with unique attributes. Eventually Dr. Moreau proves critical to the defense of London from the Martians.
During the quest for solutions to the Martian menace we discover that one of the five members of the League has betrayed them. This same person attacks Mina, leaving her injured. We also watch as romance develops between Allan Quartermain and Mina Murray, the heroine of "Dracula." This particular volume features rather risqué images of the lustful couple. Later in the novel, another member of the League will revenge Mina in a most disturbing and brutal way, which may eventually hail the end of the league as we know it.
I think this second volume is better than the first volume. Alan Moore was able to capitalize on the character development of the first volume, and thus was able to spend more time on developing the story. Moore also focuses more deeply on the mental problems that each of the characters has, providing the book with two levels of story.
The artwork is also better than in the first book. The imagery is detailed and well matches my mental image of Victorian England. Those details relating to the Martians match my recollection of the original H.G. Wells story. The colors used are vibrant and enhance the story, much like lighting is critical in film.
I have one minor complaint about the novel. I thought the ending was just a little too quick. Perhaps it was appropriate and it was in keeping with the original story. Certainly Moore was attempting to create some surprise in an ending that most of us already know, and perhaps the speedy ending was necessary to prevent people from guessing the ending. Regardless of the motivation, the transition from the story to the ending seemed a bit abrupt. However, this complaint is minor, and the superb quality of the story outweighs such minor issues.
In addition to the principle story, there is a 46 page story about various sights to be seen around the world. Included are various castles, palaces and other interesting locales. For example, there is a detailed discussion of a certain young lady by the name of Alice, who apparently found a portal into another world. There are other descriptions of giants and leprechauns, and where these creatures might be found, and numerous others. The 46 pages are a tour of the world as the "Twilight Zone" might have done it.
The second volume of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" exceeds the first volume in the story and in the artwork. This book is a worthwhile permanent addition to my library, and fans of graphic novels are sure to agree.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This book, a sequel to Alan Moore's initial series recounting the rise of the League, is a feast for both the eyes and the mind. In it, Moore pits his group of famous fictional figures (some heroic, others anything but) against H. G. Wells' Martian invaders. While the second volume lacks some of the freshness and character development of the original, it is nonetheless a great read, balancing an extraordinary faithfulness to his source material (especially Wells' book) with Moore's imaginative concepts and intriguing characterizations - and with an ending that offers a brilliant twist on the original story.
In offering this tale Moore is ably complimented by Kevin O'Neill, whose artwork offers a lush visualization of Moore's alternate Victorian Britain. Like the first volume, the panels are loaded with visual references to the fantastic literature of the previous centuries, suggesting that the extraordinariness of this world is not limited to the central characters. Deciphering the references - which has sparked much discussion on the Web - is part of the enjoyment of reading this book, and it left me amazed at the breadth of both Moore's and O'Neill's range of reading. It is only one of the many ways in which the reader is rewarded when delving into this fantastic work.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Alan Moore has done even better than in Volume I. The story line has gotten darker as befits the collecting together of these assorted Victorian heroes and anti-heroes. This time throw in Dr. Moreau and an Orson Wellesian invasian of Martians into the pot, stir, and add the brilliance of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill and you get Volume II. The dark sides of the "Gentlemen" are emerging as we see what the Invisible Man and Mr. Hyde are capable of. Besides the wonderful righting, the illustrations both capture an imagined Victorian era and mix it with the horrors we could only imagine today. In keeping with the theme of the book, there is an imaginary travelogue at the end of the graphic novel which wonderfully captures such writings of the time. We can only hope that a Volume III is in the works.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Actually, my copy of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume 2" collects the six issues put out by Mr. Alan Moore & Mr. Kevin O'Neill courtesy of America's Best Comics over the past year or so. Consequently it has nothing to do with the movie, which seems fair since the movie, just released on DVD, had relatively little to do with what now has to be referred to as Volume 1 of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." But then the movie merely copied the idea of the comics without capturing the magic.
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?).
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2006
Again revisiting the exploits of those wild and crazy Victorian adventurers, Moore recaptures the magic that made the first volume so memorable: that combustible union of witty irony with deadly serious earnestness, added with a generous dose of first-rate storytelling and gorgeous art. Moore again taps into the essence of Victorian England, what with its priggishness and insistence on decorum even when the centre no longer holds. Moore seems to have as much fun poking fun at stodgy Victorian manners as he does implicating its moral complexities.
The story involves the League's battles with an extraterrestrial invasion (anyone who has seen Spielberg's War of the Worlds should recognize an eerie similarity between the film's alien machines with the ones here). Along the way, romantic relationships, betrayal, graphic violence, human/animal hybrids, and "retired" League members keep the story moving.
Although technically a sequel to the first volume of the League, this can be enjoyed as a stand-alone, as little of the first volume's storyline creeps its way in here. Moore appears particularly focussed on developing the internal dynamics and dysfunctions of the League. The team seems nowhere near as amiable and together as it was in volume I. In this way, this volume is decidedly darker in tone than its predecessor. The laugh-out-loud sequences, though still here, are not as frequent, and tend to have morbid undercurrents to them. Comparing this volume with its predecessor is akin to choosing your favourite child: you love them both the same, although perhaps for different reasons.
The highlight, not just of volume II, but indeed of the entire series, has to be "The New Traveller's Almanac" instalment that concludes the text. Moore's imagination goes into Mach III. Picking from his prodigious knowledge of mythology, literature, cinema, and popular culture, Moore re-invents Earth's geography and history to create fascinatingly unique people, animals and places, (i.e. Torelore, on Italy's west coast, where men enter confinement while their pregnant women are conscripted into the Torelorean army, which resulted in the country's being overrun; "Thermometer Island, where the inhabitants have various forms of non-human genitalia, and a stupefying plethora of others."). It's to Moore's credit that he continues in this vein for dozens of pages; clearly, his creative powers are running on all cylinders. The carnival ride Moore takes us on perfectly demonstrates how easily he can handle humour, horror, and the sublime, and turn the ordinary into the bizarre.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
When I read THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN VOL 1, I was completely intranced and couldn't wait until the second volume came out so that I could find out what happened to the heroic group as they faced invaders from Mars. After finally getting my hands on a copy of the book and having a chance to read it, I was a bit disappointed. The second volume of the League finds the group facing an army of invaders from Mars. I thought that one of the more interesting parts of this particular volume is how Moore ties together Edward Arnold's LIEUTENANT GULLIVAR JONES, Egar Rice Burrough's John Carter, and H.G. Wells WAR OF THE WORLDS into one coherent prologue to the main story.
Anyway, hostile Martians start invading the Earth and the League is sent in to "inspect" the problem. But, the problem gets out of hand and starts vaporizing people and things go nuts. Someone in the League thinks more fondly of the invaders than any Earthlings and decides to turn traitor. Quatermain and Murray are dispatched to find a mysterious doctor who has the one weapon capable of defeating the Martians and along the way the two seal their romance. Griffin plays a major role, but doesn't get much development and the great Captain Nemo doesn't fair any better. The only major character who really sees any development is Mr. Hyde. By now, Hyde has pretty much taken complete control and Dr. Jecyll is gone for good, though something of his essence makes Hyde a better character than he was before. In fact, Hyde is the only hero. In the first Volume, heroics were shared by everyone in the group and though they had there differences, the league was a united front. This time around, things start to fall apart and the appearance of the extraterrestrials seems too much to bear. This second volume is more violent and bawdy than the first so the reader should be warned.
Besides the story, the book also includes many of the faux ads that were prominent in the 1st edition, some "games", and "The New Traveler's Alamanac". The alamanac is especially interesting because it gives clues of what happens to the League after the events of the invasion and possible ideas of what might occur in Volume Three (if it ever comes about).
Overall, though Volume Two wasn't as exciting as the first, I still found it entertaining and highly educational. It's more popular than classical this time around, but it's still pretty good literature.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2005
The second volume of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen smacks of a job quickly cobbled together to profit from the success of the first volume. The story pits our antiheroes (and wonderfully frosty antiheroine) against invaders from Mars, bringing in Dr Moreau (another H. G. Wells creation) as an unlikely source of help. All well and good. But the narrative we see scarcely touches on the Martian invasion: there is none of the bone-tingling tension plentiful in the first volume. The art work and writing are still top notch (and how could they not be, with Moore and O'Neill behind the wheel?), but the volume's biggest flaw is its lack of cohesion and lackadaisical approach to character interaction, which made the first volume such a delight. While Hyde (who has almost completely taken over from Jekyll) gets a lot of attention, as does the blooming romance between Mina and Quatermain (and boy, does it bloom or what :), Nemo's appearance could be charitably described as a poorly developed cameo, and Griffin proves little more than a foil for the other characters, and not even a very take-charge, successful foil, at that. Still, if you liked the first volume, you'll appreciate the second one, though it stands like a chocolate-chip cookie next to a whooping big piece of chocolate-and-fudge cake with a cherry on top.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2004
This graphic novel is for those who can identify the diverse works of Jules Verne (most of his novels), Edgar Rice Burroughs (the series involving Tarzan, John Carter and Pellucidar), James Hilton (Lost Horizon), Shakespeare (various plays), Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels), James Fenimore Cooper (The Leatherstocking series), H.G. Wells (most of his novels), Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde), Anthony Hope (the Prisoner of Zenda), Anthony Tropple (the Pallister books)and so many more.
The authors are playing a pallor game of challenging the reader to identify their many allusions and source material in their quest for a Unified Literature Theory. While being an English major is not a requirement, it certainly enhances the enjoyment of the book.
Two caveats -- First, the movie was only suggested by the graphic novels and does not resemble the plot or the mood of the story. Second, there are explicit scenes of sex that make this volume unsuitable for children (unlike volume 1). This is a shame because the author's vast source materials are all appropriate for children and teens. In fact, one can have a lark going back to read the many works referred in "The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen".
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2003
According to the ISBN number (1401201172), images at other websites (e.g., BN), and the publisher's name (DC Comics), only the hardback is the second volume of the graphic novel. All other editions available now (December 2003) are novelizations of the movie. Amazon should be a bit more careful, don't you think?