Read it before you see the movie. Or, perhaps, shortly thereafter, so the movie doesn’t disappoint.

General Information

Title: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1
Author: Alan Moore
Illustrator: Kevin O’Neill
Original Publication Date: 1999, 2000
ISBN: 1-56389-858-6
Cover Price: $14.95 US, $24.95 Can
Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Premise

The legends of turn-of-the-century English literature are brought
together in a single story. This collects the first six-issue
miniseries.

The official website for the comic series is here.
The movie adaptation comes out this summer, on either June 6 or July
11 depending upon where you get the date from. July 11 looks like the
correct date though. The adaptation may not be completely accurate;
Tom Sawyer is not present in the comic, but he’s prominent in the film
by the looks of things. Also, in the movie trailer, they drive a
car. There are no cars in this, and the taxi is a horse drawn
carriage.

High Point

The Invisible Man.

Low Point

There was a fair amount of bonus material in this collection, but I
don’t see anything that points readers towards where these characters
first appeared. I recognized all but Allan Quatermain. It’s a really
minor quibble, but it’s the only part that stood out as lacking.

The Scores

This is a wonderfully original concept. Jekell and Hyde seem
to be more like Bruce Banner and the Hulk here than in the work of
Robert Louis Stevenson, but it makes the character more interesting
than the original, and more sympathetic when the change is
involuntary. I give it 5 out of 6, since this version of Jekell seems
to be a carbon copy of Banner.

The artwork is very, very similar to the styles of the old
art I’ve seen for period works, which was almost certainly
intentional. While that choice is very well suited to this
collection from an artist’s perspective, I still don’t really care for
it. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is very well done, tying characters together from
various other works in a manner that seems rather natural, and
surprisingly consistent with the originals, considering that some of
these characters were supposed to be dead. Even without that, the
story and characters can stand on their own in a very respectable
manner. This setup works far better than it has any right to. I give
it 6 out of 6.



The characterization was very well done. Different
characters have different manners of speech, although they all use the
same formalities and tones that you’ll find in the literature of the
period. The different personalities, particularly that of Griffin and
Nemo, are very clear in the context of this work. Unfortunately, the
Jekell/Hyde thing once again seems far too similar to Banner/Hulk. I
give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was mostly good. I’ve
heard wonderful things about this, and it didn’t quite live up to the
hype, but that’s due to my interactions with other readers, and is not
the fault of the creators. (It’s very good, but I’ve seen a few
people refer to it as perfect, which it certainly is not.) It
definitely grabbed my interest and pulled me in, and the inclusion of
so many other works was very fluid (with the possible exception of the
cameo early in issue six, which seemed a bit strained and rather
pointless.) I give it 4 out of 6.

The flow was very good. The dialogue was the lengthy sort
from the period, but it didn’t seem as out of place as it does in a
super-hero battle in a Spider-Man comic. When the action sequences
begin, the dialogue slows accordingly. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is a very good collection, and it may serve as
a nice break for those who like the comic medium but are getting a bit
tired of super-heroes. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Volume One
receives 34 out of 42.