League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Reviewed
Reviewed By Charles Prepolec
Copyright © 2000 Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
Copyright © 2000 Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
Copyright © 2000 Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
Copyright © 2000 Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
Copyright © 2000 Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
So many pastiches and I have to comment on a comic book? One that isn’t even specifically about Sherlock Holmes? Ah yes, but The League of Extraordinary Gentleman is not just any comic book! What we have here is a tightly written homage to the grand adventure stories of yesteryear with a dark twist that only writer Alan Moore (From Hell) could envision. Originally released as a 6 issue series, it has since been released as two trade paperback collections and a beautiful hardcover edition, all under the imprint of America’s Best Comics.

The year is 1898 in an alternate England where a Channel Bridge is being constructed and fictional characters have a life of their own. The Great Detective is believed dead after the incident at Reichenbach Falls. Campion Bond of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, under orders from the mysterious ‘M’, sets about gathering together a “menagerie” of adventurers to reclaim the stolen anti-gravity element Cavorite from a satanic looking oriental criminal mastermind. Leading this team of misfits is Miss Mina Murray. And here is where the fun and familiarity begins…
Miss Murray will instantly be recognizable to readers of Dracula. Her other associates are also culled from Victorian popular literature. We have H. Rider Haggard’s Allan Quatermain alongside Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo. Rounding out the League are the two grotesques of H. G. Wells’ Invisible Man and R. L. Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. The concept of gathering together a group of established characters in this manner is not a particularly inventive or original one, but the success of this 6 issue comic book series stems from the inventive characterization and evocative period as devised by Alan Moore. Each of the characters is presented as being somewhat past their prime and well past their individually well known stories. Linking these characters is a sense of each of them as “damaged goods”. Quatermain for instance, is rescued from an opium den and a life of dissolution, Miss Murray continually conceals her neck after incidents which left her ravaged by a foreign nobleman, thus setting her outside of polite society. This is not a gathering of squeaky clean heroic individuals, which makes them all the more interesting. Also appearing along the way are Poe’s Chevalier Auguste Dupin, Rohmer’s Fu Manchu and the reason for including this item on a Holmes site, Professor Moriarty and Mycroft Holmes.
While Sherlock Holmes does not actively take part in the story, he does appear in a wonderful flashback sequence set at Reichenbach in issue 5. It is beautifully rendered and has a wonderful canonical feel to it. As a matter of fact, the entire series is suffused with a Sherlockian resonance that keeps you wondering if Holmes will appear at any moment. He never does, but the appearance of Mycroft Holmes on the penultimate page very nearly makes up for it. Moriarty is however a key player in the story with a large and crucial role.
The comics themselves are wonderful. The artwork by Kevin O’Neill may not suit everyone’s tastes, but it does enhance the pulpy feel of the series and conveys a whole range of character emotion in surprisingly clever and detailed line work.
The backdrops and crowd scenes are also full of literary allusions ranging from Limehouse Nights to Oliver Twist, that at times are satisfyingly obscure. The obscure nature of it led one reader to set up a wonderful website annotating the series; it can be reached by clicking here. Even the advert’s are set up as mock Victorian in nature and presentation making the Victorian Boys Own feel complete. One note of caution though, this series is not geared towards children as it deals occasionally with rather adult themes, the antics of the Invisible Man hiding out in a Girl’s School being a prime example. The whole thing has a clever and subversive style to it that makes for compelling reading from beginning to end. Even if you aren’t a comic book reader, this is one series that I heartily endorse to Sherlockians or those that enjoy the Victorian setting. Fans of Philip Jose Farmer’s Wold-Newton Universe will love this! Get down to your local comic store and add this to your reading matter today or click here to order the trade paperback collection from Amazon!
The final panel leaves us with a tantalizing glimpse of things to come…

“Hurrah! Thus we conclude our first remarkable and rousing narrative…but wait! What are these ominous and incandescent lanterns, plunging through the London summer skies of 1898? To find learn the answer, seek out the forthcoming second volume of our chums’ extraordinary adventures… ”
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Disclaimer: The League of Extraordinary Gentleman is TM & © 2000 Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill. All images are used here for publicity and review purposes only, no ownership is given or implied. Reproduction is strictly prohibited. Article is © 2000-3 Charles Prepolec. Film news is believed accurate at time of posting. For removal of infringing materials, please contact the Webmaster.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Movie
here for production info.
here for our film review.
Sean Connery as Allan Quatermain
LOEG Film Production News now here!
Sean Connery
"Allan Quatermain"
July 2002: New LOEG comic book series hit shops on July 28, 2002.
Peta Wilson as Mina
Peta Wilson
"Mina Harker"
Naseeruddin Shah
Jason Flemyng
Stuart Townsend as Dorian
Shane West as Tom Sawyer
Tony Curran
Naseeruddin Shah
"Captain Nemo"
Jason Flemyng
"Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde"
Stuart Townsend
"Dorian Gray"
Shane West
"Tom Sawyer"
Tony Curran
"Invisible Man"
Now a major motion picture starring Sean Connery. So why is this on a Sherlock Holmes site? Read further to find out why this comic book is of interest to Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts....
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Film Review/Synopsis
Click here now to read our on-site review
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