Joshua Palmatier's Reviews > The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 2

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 2 by Alan Moore
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Mar 20, 2010

really liked it

I finished this a little while ago actually and haven't had a chance to write up a review until now. So here goes:

I liked this second edition of the LEAGUE universe much better than the first, possibly because it had a much more coherent plotline to follow and it focused alot more on the characters of the LEAGUE. While the first volume was mostly about gathering the group together, followed by a short plot involving the cadamite (or whatever), this one started with the main plot thread and kept that thread throughout, weaving the character development into that.

And the plot was interesting and engaging, starting with the first chapter--a montage to everything Mars from literature. Very nice artwork throughout this entire chapter, even if there were a few questions brought up by said artwork (such as what's the rule about breathing martian air, anyways; sometimes it seems they can, other times they wear masks). Very nice chapter, which leads directly into chapter 2 with the introduction of the League into the plot. Once again, we have numerous different literary figures making appearances, which is one of the cool aspects of the League world. I don't want to spoil any of that, so I won't say any more there.

Instead, I'll focus on what I felt was the best part of the entire novel: the characters. We get much more with the relationship between Mina and Quartermain. Perhaps too much, in some chapters. But the relationship that stands out and that held my attention throughout was that of Hyde and Griffin. We get to see exactly how nasty these two can get, and reading about it was what kept me riveted to the book. To the point where I felt that this was really what the novel was all about. I felt that Chapter 5, where all of this comes to a head, was really the high point of the novel, even though Chapter 6 is the one in which the main plot thread finally gets resolved.

And that's where the book was a little bit of a let down: the final chapter. The confrontation between Hyde and the monsters was great, but it still felt anticlimactic to what happened in Chapter 5 between Hyde and Griffin. And the rest of the resolution (I'm not saying much here because it would spoil the novel) certainly didn't measure up to Chapter 5. The final few pages dealing with Mina and Quartermain's relationship felt rushed as well.

So in the end, I loved the graphic novel overall. There was some really good artwork (and some really bad, to be honest, but mostly good) and the characterization was spectacular, to the detriment of the main plot unfortunately. I've already gone ahead and bought the rest of the LEAGUE universe books (1910 and the Black Dossier) and will definitely read them as well.

Extras: At the end of the book there are a bunch of extras, including a rather dense "atlas" of the world. I started reading this and almost put it down because it was TOO dense and didn't seem to be adding much to the novel except for some satisfaction when a particular literary reference was one that I knew. However I persevered and was rewarded when instead of doing place after place after place (as in the first few chapters), the authors began weaving in accounts of the places from the League characters' journals. In fact, a small story began to develop. That story is really the only reason to read this extra--aside from those few moments of recognition. The additional cover art and such is always interesting as well.
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