Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Absolute Edition Review

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
DC Comics - America's Best Comics
Oversized Hardcover w/Slipcase
416 pages
$49.99 (2011) Omnibus
$75.00 (2003) Absolute Edition
$14.95 (2002) Trade Paperback
$24.95 (2001) Hardcover
ISBN 9781401200527

Contributors: Alan Moore, Kevin O'Neill, Ben Dimagmaliw, and Bill Oakley

Reprints: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen #1-6 (of 6)

Synopsis: England faces an unparalleled threat to its security and only the most extraordinary team of adventurers can hope to save the empire.  They include:
  • Ms. Mina Murray (Bram Stoker) - former school mistress and one-time wife to Jonathan Harker.  Survivor of multiple visitations by Count Dracula.  Wears red scarf to cover bite mark scars.  Cursed
  • Allan Quatermain (H. Rider Haggard) - discoverer of King Solomon's mines and professional big game hunter with a crack shot.  Found near death in an opium den sucking the pipe
  • Captain Nemo (Jules Verne) - Sikh mariner, science-pirate and captain of the aquatic juggernaut, the Nautilus
  • Hawley Griffin (H.G. Wells) - embittered, misanthrope scientist who has turned his body invisible.  Found covertly raping girls under the guise of the Holy Spirit at a disreputable girls academy
  • Dr. Henry Jekyll (Robert Louis Stevenson) - troubled scientist who sought to separate his darker impulses from himself, but unintentionally birthed an unconscionable creature calling itself Edward Hyde and lacking all morals.  Found raping and dismembering French prostitutes
Edward Hyde doesn't play nice with others
The group must recover a missing new element called Cavorite which heralds sky-supremacy to the wielder.  Everything is not as it seems and their greatest allies may be their most wicked foes.  How can these five utterly different people work together to save England?

Can they keep the monstrous fiend Hyde in check for long?  Nemo's disdain for the British is near palpable, but why does he work for the Crown?  Quatermain is a washed up adventurer who may not have been worth saving.  Griffin's condition serves to further him from a humanity he already despises.  Can Mina Murray manage to wrangle these individuals to accomplish their lofty goal and who is the traitor?
The League regroups after some reconnaissance
Pros: Amazing concept/writing by Moore, quirky/interesting art by O'Neill, story is inspired by the best/greatest classic fiction writers of Victorian era, you can tell the creators had a blast working on this piece, Absolute edition has a ton of extras with an entire separate 192-page volume to house them, including original scripts by Moore (very detailed) and additional illos by O'Neill

Cons: Expensive book for a mere six-issue mini-series, wading through the extras can be a bit of a chore, O'Neill's art is heavily stylized, ending sky-battle is a bit hokey

Mike Tells It Straight: This is steampunk!  Wonderfully imaginative story by Moore as he borrows classic literary characters to make a psuedo-superhero team for the Victorian era.  You'll delight in uncovering the hidden gems of literary reference (Cavorite is from H.G. Wells' The Men in the Moon, plus many other references besides the main cast of characters) and it made me track down the original works by these famed authors.  Well worth the time - this book is for mature audiences (age 13+ recommended). 
Captain Nemo really, really dislikes the British
This Absolute Edition is an impressive collection.  Honestly, I found it to be a bit pricey and slightly overkill for my taste.  Perfect for the obsessed fan of this work or Moore in general, but the current rare status (out-of-print and fetching around $200 for a copy) makes it unattainable to my budget (I'm not alone there).  Buy the hardcover or trade paperback instead - this book is not the same as the movie, it's actually good.  Read it!
This movie was not approved by Alan Moore and it shows
TO BUY and Recommendations: