Review by Aaron Cooper
All my expectations were blown away by Alan Moore in his first League of Extraordinary Gentleman series, but after the lackluster attempt by others to put it on celluloid, I approached the second volume of this fine comic series with a little trepidation.
The first volume perfectly melded the idea of a ‘super-hero’ team with the intelligence and research of the great novels and literary figures of yester-year. It was a thinking man’s book that led to having an entire volume of annotations published so the un-informed reader could keep up. Great care and thought went into the blending of all these Victorian Age figures into a fantastic, yet not wholly unbelievable, concept that would make any of the originators of these characters proud.
The second volume of League takes place in the setting of H.G. Wells ‘War of the Worlds’ novel. Since the first storyline was an original story using concepts from various Victorian sources, I was concerned that taking these characters and using them in such a particular setting was a step backwards. Had ‘sequel-itis’ already seeped in? Fortunately, my fears were unfounded. In fact, I was more then pleased with the final result. Alan Moore does what every good writer should do in a continuation. By using the singular setting, much of the mystery is taken away (though there are some real puzzles still presented) and more time is given to developing the lead characters more thoroughly. In fact, what seemed to be one-dimensional characters like Mr. Edward Hyde are fully fleshed out. There is an incident involving him and the treacherous Hawley Griffin (The Invisible Man) that is simultaneously sickening and laudable, an emotional reaction not easily found in many writings today. More Victorian characters and settings are introduced, which is always fun in this series, but it’s done in such a way as to not detract from the leads. The story is satisfying and complete from start to finish, and the finale is brilliant. What will Alan Moore do with this series next?
Kevin O’Neill’s art adds to the brilliance. His overall style and direction bring this book to life in all its full color, turn-of the-century brilliance. It’s designed to look like the art style and colors of the period. The hardcover edition features extra period-piece styled pages for more fun!
Alan Moore is regarded as one of the best writers in the industry for almost 20 years, and his imagination and choice of artists to help bring that imagination to life continue to bring him accolades. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume II is an excellent, thought-provoking, intelligent read that reminds us how well comics can be done and why we are fans.