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Well, well, here we go again. After "The Black Dossier", which I found tremendously disappointing after so long a wait (v2 itself having been a bit of a let-down from the preceding one), Moore and O'Neill's famous Victorian adventure heroes return for an adventure with an actual plot. The first of three 'graphic novellas' (it's basically just a slim graphic novel) telling the story of an overarching plot in the 20th century, the events of this one were alluded to in the "Dossier". Plot details are discussed herein, so be warned.
Moore said he wanted this to function both as part one of three and as a story in its own right, hence the decision to abandon the more traditional 22-page single-issue format of previous installments in favour of larger bundles. In that sense, he has succeeded. "1910" has both an internal narrative arc and an ending that augurs future plot developments. On the question of how compelling this story is by itself, I would say reasonably so, moreso than either "The Black Dossier" or "League v.2", though many of my problems with this property remain.
As alluded to in "The Black Dossier", this story picks up in 1910, with the League consisting of old standbys Mina Murray (not yet a blonde), Allan Quatermain ("Junior"), Thomas Carnacki (from W. H. Hodgson's "The Casebook of Carnacki the Ghost Finder", originally serialized in "The Strand"), A. J. Raffles (another magazine serial character, created by Arthur Conan Doyle's brother-in-law, E. W. Hornung), and a male Orlando (Virginia Woolf's novel of the same name; a major figure in "The Black Dossier"). The reign of Edward VII has ended, and the inauguration of George V is impending, with the Great War that will bring to a definitive end this period in world history whispering on the horizon.Read more ›
THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill's motley crew of Victorian-era literary figures, returns for a fourth outing, and the results are extraordinary, indeed.
The first in a trilogy, CENTURY: 1910 sees an modified League, consisting of Mina Murray, Allan Quatermain (Masquerading as his own son, thanks to his newly immortal condition, as seen in THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: THE BLACK DOSSIER), Carnacki, Raffles, and Orlando, dispatched by Mycroft Holmes to prevent the apocalyptic vision received by Carnacki from becoming a reality. To say more about the story would do potential readers a disservice. (I will say that the story involves Captain Nemo and his equally hardcase Daughter Janni, the Ripper murders, Aleister Crowley, and Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's musical THE THREEPENNY OPERA. An odd, but pleasing, mixture.)
The misgivings I had at the end of Volume II of LOEG still hold true, to an extent: Without the depraved personalities of Hyde, Griffin, and Nemo, the remaining members of The League are less than interesting. Mina and Allan are as boring as ever, and Raffles and Carnacki are not much better. Only Orlando delivers even a fraction of the personality that's been missing since Hyde and Griffin exited Moore's grand stage. However, the "new" characters (New to More's playground, at least- Jenny Diver, Jack MacHeath, Suki Tawdry, Oliver Haddo, and Norton, the "Prisoner of London") make for some interesting moments, and O'Neill's art is as grotesquely lovely and detailed as ever. The League itself, as always, is more of a group of passive observers than active participants- They seem very ineffective for such a highly-regarded team.Read more ›
Don't get me wrong -- I enjoyed the first "Extraordinary Gentlemen" series (and hated the movie) but I found this volume to be a bit dull, and couldn't help detecting a strong whiff of self-satisfaction wafting out of the script. "What a clever boy am I!" is the constant undercurrent to it all, even though Moore seems to have little new to offer his readers that we haven't seen before, time and again. Plus, the story is so slow-moving and inert -- I found it a chore to get through, particularly the extended "musical" sequences that are intended as an homage to Brecht and Weill: sheer torture. This was okay, I guess, but personally I found myself frequently bored with most of the book. (Axton)
This is another good installment in a series that never quite lives up to its promise. At least there is less of Moore attempting to write prose "in the style of..." What I like about the league is the sheer intensity of the references - surely a mocking joke on post-modernism and the pastiche as well as a celebration of them. The series on this level does not write down to its audience and Moore cleverly blends high and low cultural elements. These books are for well read readers and don't pander to popular taste however the story Moore builds out of his splendid box of tricks could have sprung from any pulp writer of the last two hundred years and I know this is part one and some development into a more interesting plot is evident but the fact is part 2 set in 1969 will involve pages of new characters and new references leaving Mina and Alan's development almost non-existent. That said it is good fun and I love the addition of Carnacki and Raffles (a particular favourite of mine).
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