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Book Review < Back

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vol. 1

Credits: Written by Alan Moore and Illustrated by Kevin O'Neill
Publisher: Wildstorm (DC)


Alan Moore has written some of the most massively serious, most importantly literate comics to date. Watchmen, while about superheroes, wasn't really ABOUT superheroes so much as power; From Hell, his stellar, stunning study of violence via Jack the Ripper; V for Vendetta, a parable about fascism and rebellion in the guise of a Guy Fawkes anarchist taking on an Orwellian government... all great books, but their general seriousness and subject matters tend to make one forget that Moore can write Big Fun Stuff, too.

It seems Moore was worried about this as well. LEAGUE, part of Moore's America's Best Comics line, is one of five books low on Deeper Meaning but high on adrenaline and the fantastic. LOEG is a loving mélange and homage to Victorian Pulp: Alan Quatermain, Captain Nemo, Nina Murray-Harker, Dr. Jeykl, and The Invisible Man TEAM UP to fight Fu Manchu.

THAT, dear readers, is a high-concept to die for, and Moore knows it.

A practical Who's Who of the Victorian era's pulp literature, illustrated expertly by Kevin O'Neill in a style equally vibrantly delicate and luridly grotesque, LOEG is a rollicking adventure yarn jam-packed with big set pieces and pitch-perfect characterizations - most of all, though, it's unapologetic fun for fun's sake.

-- Matt Fraction

Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.


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