I’ve always been a little curious about Alan Moore, but not sure if I would like his style or not. I remember the movie, and being curious about it but never actually seeing it. I guess I just hadn’t been curious enough. Well, for whatever reason, I decided to check out this graphic novel and see if it grabs me.
The premise is that a mysterious Mr. Bond, who works for a Mr. M, has charged Miss Mina Murray with “collecting” all of these characters to help serve the British Empire. Miss Murray becomes the leader, in a sense, and the group goes out on missions for Bond/M without really knowing what or why they are doing these things. This obviously comes back to haunt them… but what price will they have paid?
This volume collects the first 5 issues of the series. I’ll admit, I felt somewhat confused after the first one… and while some things became clearer as I went on – I still had some nagging questions. Like, Hawley Griffin (the Invisible Man)’s story. Was that necessary? They find him because he has been impregnating girls (read: raping them as they couldn’t even see him) at this overtly sexual “home for girls”, and we’re all just supposed to be okay with him afterward? Ms. Murray chastises him once when they are sort of talking about it, and then it is like all is forgiven. Not cool. I read The Invisible Man a few years ago, and I don’t remember this as part of his character – though I may have blocked it out. I that is the case, I apologize. But bringing that part back here still feels icky and gross. And then there are all the racist words in talking about the enemy – who is Asian living in England.
I do think it is inventive to bring these literary characters together as a sort of late 1800s superforce. The volume built up to an excited climax of this story arc, and I can see how the stories could get better as they go on. I would just hope that some of the problematic issues are addressed as well. Still not sure if I’ll ever watch the movie – not that it matters much as I’ve heard it differs in some big ways from the comics.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Vol 1 – 1898
by Alan Moore
America’s Best Comics, 1999