The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Volume II

It is a pity that I read the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen before I was reviewing things, and probably moreso that I don’t really remember what happened in it. I mean, I certainly remember the premise, that characters I would normally claim to be fictional residents of the late 19th Century have banded together to defend England and/or the world from a threat; it’s just that while I remember the characters, I don’t really remember the threat (by which I would otherwise mean the plot).

On the bright side, this has not prevented enjoyment of the second volume in the apparent series. Possibly familiar characters such as Captain Nemo, Edward Hyde, and Allan Quatermain join forces once again under the leadership of Wilhelmina “Mina” Murray to battle the forces of Mars, who are invading in a manner with which you may be familiar thanks to the narration of Orson Welles. There are twists and turns, sure, but the fun isn’t really in the plot so much as the cleverness of the concept and the character interactions. Everyone is written well enough, though I admit to some uncertainty about Hyde. Still, nothing that made me mislike anything I saw.

After the end of that story, in any event, is an extremely long travelogue explaining the various mystical locations and peoples of the world circa the turn of the 20th Century. It started out slow and dry and a bit of a beating, but then finally found the voices of Mina and leaders of other incarnations of the League throughout previous centuries, and to my surprise I found it highly enjoyable by the end. The theme is still primarily a clever integration of various fictions into the world we know, and although it is possible to get allergic to Moore’s smugness, it worked out for me, like I said. And then a few bits of fluff (including a board game!) round out the volume.

Also, there are a couple more written that I didn’t know about? I am cautiously optimistic, not being allergic to the possible smugness of the concept.

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