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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 Paperback – October 1, 2002
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Proving that mainstream comics could be infused with past literary/cultural ideals and still be bestsellers, the America's Best Comics imprint took the dilapidated superhero genre and created three vastly entertaining hybrids with Tom Strong, Promethea and Top Ten. Now, a stunning coup de grace is delivered with this masterful pairing of Victorian adventure fiction's greatest characters and the old war-horse of the super-group. With the stunning The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, it would be no exaggeration to say that Alan Moore has produced a near-perfect piece of adventure fiction that is clever, literate, rich with excitement and hard to put down.
It's 1898 and at the behest of M, the mysterious head of the secret Service, Campion Bond is dispatched to procure the services of Miss Mina Murray (nee Harker), adventurer Allan Quartermain, "Science-Pirate" Captain Nemo, Henry Jekyll (and his monstrous alter ego) and Hawley Griffin (a.k.a. the Invisible Man). Together, they must combat an insidious threat that will decide supremacy of the London skies, but their success may unleash a far greater threat. With no shortage of action, Moore and O' Neill sustain a high level of suspense, intrigue, mystery and terrific wit that all contribute to an indispensable read. O'Neill's art, so memorable in Marshal Law, produces a London filled with vivid, magnificent architecture and a malevolent atmosphere ripe with thrills and danger. An unmitigated triumph--pure and simple. --Danny Graydon
About the Author
Alan Moore is perhaps the most acclaimed writer in the graphic story medium, having garnered countless awards for works such as Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing and Miracleman. He is also the mastermind behind the America's Best Comics line, through which he has created (along with many talented illustrators) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Promethea, Tom Strong, Tomorrow Stories and Top Ten.
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Campion Bond, Director of England’s Intelligence service — MI5, has recruited a team of inventors, scientists, spies and adventurers who are known for being able to get their job done no matter what. This team consists of Mina Murray from Bram Stoker's Dracula, Allan Quatermain protagonist of H. Rider Haggard's series from the late 19th Century, Captain Nemo of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde of the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson’s famed horror novel, as well as HG Well's invisible man, Hawley Griffin.
The team is ordered to recover an anti-gravity compound, Cavorite – invented by physicist Mr. Cavor (from H.G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon) before the notorious Dr. Fu Manchu (introduced in a series by Sax Rohmer during the first half of the 20th century) can get his hands on it and attack London from the air.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore brings in a bunch of famous fictional characters, written by different authors, to a steampunk adventure which spans literature and imagination. The story revolves around several famous Victorian characters which serve as a wonderful introduction to their stories and authors.
The graphic novel is illustrated with skill and talent, every panel has an aim and is worthy of close examination. Every panel is aimed at the reader who, with some knowledge of the classics, can appreciate the humor and genius behind the lines and words.
The characters which Mr. Moore “borrowed” are full of life and relevant despite their Victorian origins. While the main cast (The League) gets the majority of the panels, there are many more literary characters hidden within the novel, hunting for them was a major part of the fun in reading this work. The story, together with the art, can be read as a very complex novel which is probably the reason it was not done justice being translated to the big screen.
This graphic novel is full of violence, blood, death and sexual situations and innuendos, that is not a bad thing, but let the informed buyer beware. Kevin O’Neill’s magnificent art compliments and enhances Mr. Moore’s storytelling. The imaginative panels of Mr. O’Neill breathe life into old favorites, you will never read those same classics again in the same way.
The highlight of 1910 is the coming-of-age tale of Janni Dakkar. Seeing her evolution as a character was a thrill. In addition to her, Moore has written a ton of music into this novel through his side-characters that do a good job of illustrating the themes of the novel, though they can be a bit heavy-handed. And while the literary references have started to get more obscure, they're still fairly recognizable.
The main problem with 1910 is that it's too short. And I don't just mean that as 'I wanted it to go on forever'. I mean it as 'Moore rushes through several plot points too fast for them to be satisfying'.
Like Watchmen and the other League novels, Moore ended this story with a companion piece called 'Minions of the Moon'. This piece provides plenty of interesting back story on the characters, along with it's own worthwhile League Adventure in it's own right. Unfortunately, Moore decided to write it at a Nathaniel Hawthorne level of overly-complicated-and-pretentious writing. Still I wouldn't recommend that you skip it.
All in all, I thought this book was enjoyable and worth the money, but they were downhill afterwards, so if you don't like this one, don't bother with 1969 and 2009.