Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 1

The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, But Not The Movie: A Penny Dreadful Review


            This week, I look at a classic comic by Mr. Alan Moore and Mr. Kevin O’Neill. This comic is, of course, The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I am fortunate in that it has been collected into volumes. In this review, I shall tell you about Volume One.
            The comic is not at all like the film. Get that droll drama out of your head right now, because it only interferes with your enjoyment of this comic. The comic is rated R, possibly NC17, and quite gritty. The movie is PG13, and rather adorable (I happen to like it quite a bit, it simply has nothing to do with what I discuss here).
            Mina Murray is engaged by the mysterious M to collect an odd assortment of dangerous and unstable individuals in order to provide a sort of super-team. You may have read of Miss Murray’s other exploits and those of her team (Dracula, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, that sort of thing). This is a fascinating way to stitch together those characters that you always wanted to hear more about from various Victorian literatures. Once the team is assembled, they must infiltrate the lair of a terrifying and possibly inhuman criminal.
            Mina is much more active in the comic that the writers of the movie allowed her to be, but she gets molested in nearly every chapter. Why must the great minds who have created this resort to sexual assault so often? It isn’t funny or amusing. I find it distasteful. On the other hand, it is Miss Mina Murray who heads this league, Miss Murray whose sharp intellect and even sharper tongue that get them going on their missions. I do love her agency here.
            The story is a dark, fantastic combination of Victorianisms and modernisms. The art is a more modern style set in somber colors – this London is not a happy place. The story is more graphic than widely read literature in the Victorian Era could be, yet it still retains a certain flair like a dime novel adventure story.

            This comic is, of course, excellent. I give it four point five gears out of five. I enjoyed it immensely. You should read it at once.