Matt Guion's Reviews > The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore
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Mar 20, 12

Read in June, 2011

Genre: Graphic novel, sci-fi/fantasy, historical

Synopsis: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a group of people believed by many to be fictional. Captain Nemo, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the invisible man . . . all of these people are recruited into this league in order to do important secret work for the crown. However, as is often the case, there is corruption and betrayal in the works, and the league will either protect a deadly powerful weapon . . . or hand it over to one of the most diabolical villains of all time.

Review: This is the third Alan Moore graphic novel I’ve read, and though I may not agree with his views on storytelling and often find his personality irritating, I’ve always been favorably impressed with his stories. This one, however, was underwhelming. The idea has a lot of promise, taking these well-known characters from nineteenth century literature and putting them together to solve a problem. It seems like it’d be pretty cool. So what’s the problem?

From what I can tell, it’s a lot of missed potential. Alan Moore is at his best when he’s exploring the depths of what constitutes good and evil in characters that are morally grey at best. This story, especially with characters like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Invisible Man, and Moriarty, would seem to be the perfect opportunity for that, but it simply doesn’t happen. The characters aren’t developed, or even likable a lot of the time. We never get to explore their characters beyond what we’re first presented. Hyde is a straight up monster and Jekyll a nervous and quiet man, but that’s really all we get, no glance into the psychological drama that made the original story of Jekyll and Hyde so fascinating. Mina Murray, of Dracula fame, is a strong female character, but cold and often mean-spirited, and again, with absolutely no exploration into how the events of Dracula affected her. The Invisible Man is just a bastard and never stops being a bastard. And Moriarty is just a stereotypical villain.

Simply put, I never felt invested in any of these characters. Maybe it gets better as the story progresses, but I just don’t feel compelled to read on. I don’t really care what happens to these characters. The character exploration, complexity, and depth that I’ve come to expect from Alan Moore stories was simply not here. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be like his other stories, I don’t know, but I didn’t find it compelling. It’s an interesting idea and has it’s moments, but on the whole, it wasn’t particularly enjoyable.

Worth Rating: Worth skimming
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