Miscellaneous Reviews:

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

(Words by Alan Moore, art by Kevin O'Neill, 6 issue mini-series published by America's Best Comics)

What do you get if you gather Miss Wilhemina Murray, Mr Edward Hyde, Mr Allan Quatermain and Mr Griffin in the depths of Captain Nemo's submarine?

What you get is Alan (Watchmen) Moore's great return to form, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Taking some well-loved figures from the classics of Victorian literature (see if you can spot them all!), Moore has placed some disparate characters in some unusual and precarious situations. A laudanum addict, a changeling, an invisible man, a genius scientist and a divorcee with a shady past might have only their unusual life stories in common, but they are nonetheless thrown together for the good of the Empire.

The first three issues revolve around their introduction into the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, taking Miss Murray first to Egypt to rescue Quartermain from laudanum dereliction and then to Paris to meet a doctor living near the Rue Morgue. It's not too surprising when she meets a certain Mr Hyde instead. The investigation of incidents of virgin births at Miss Rosa Coote's Correctional Academy in Enfield leads to the drafting on-board of the Invisible Man, and then the League is ready to start maintaining the Empire in earnest, initially investigating the Chinese area of Limehouse for a stolen anti-gravity compound.

These scenes provide Moore with the perfect opportunity to take a sly dig at the colonial tendencies of Victorian England, although some people may miss the irony. It also provides him with the chance to write about some of classic literature's most famous creations, and Kevin (Marshall Law) O'Neill's superb artwork sets the script off perfectly. Bookended with vintage Victorian adverts and a surreal prose story from Moore, this is an amusing and clever comic from one of the better writer and artist teams in comics today.

Anna Jellinek

See also:

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Film Review)

A-Z of Miscellaneous Reviews