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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 1 TP
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Alan Moore is perhaps the most acclaimed writer in the graphic story medium, having garnered countless awards for works such as Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing and Miracleman. He is also the mastermind behind the America's Best Comics line, through which he has created (along with many talented illustrators) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Promethea, Tom Strong, Tomorrow Stories and Top Ten.

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Acclaimed comics author Moore (Watchmen) has combined his love of 19th-century adventure literature with an imaginative mastery of its 20th-century corollary, the superhero comic book. This delightful work features a grand collection of signature 19th-century fictional adventurers, covertly brought together to defend the empire. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comprises such characters as Minna Murray (formerly Harker), from Bram Stoker's Dracula; Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll (and his monstrous alter ego, Mr. Hyde); and Jules Verne's Captain Nemo, restored to the dark, grim-visaged Sikh Verne originally intended. There's also Hawley Griffin, the imperceptible hero of H.G. Well's The Invisible Man, and Allan Quartermain, the daring adventurer of King Solomon's Mines and other classic yarns by H. Rider Haggard. It's 1898, and these troubled adventurers are spread around the globe, in the midst of one pickle or another. Quartermain is found near death, delirious in a Cairo opium den; the perverse Griffin is captured terrorizing an all-girls school (leaving behind a series of mysterious pregnancies); and the gruesome Mr. Hyde is rescued from the mob set to kill him at the end of Stevenson's classic novel. This collection of flawed and gloomy heroes is recruited to fight a criminal mastermind (a notorious 19th-century literary villain) intent on firebombing the East End of London. The book also includes "Allan and the Sundered Veil," a rip-snorting, prose time-travel story starring Quartermain and written in the manner of the 19th-century "penny dreadful." Moore and O'Neill have created a Victorian era Fantastic Four, a beautifully illustrated reprise of 19th-century literary derring-do packed with period detail, great humor and rousing adventure. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

According to Publishers Weekly, Volume 1 of this literary megacrossover series was the best-selling graphic novel of 2003; interest in this second volume is likely to be high, then. When H.G. Wells's "Martians" from The War of the Worlds invade Victorian England, Mycroft Holmes (Sherlock's brother) summons his team of operatives for help. While Captain Nemo and Mr. Hyde defend London, Mina Murray (Mina Harker from Dracula) and adventurer Allan Quatermain go in search of a mysterious doctor who holds the key to the world's survival. But the Invisible Man (appropriately, perhaps) disappears. The story is less exciting and action-packed as might be expected, but it does take the characters in interesting directions. Moore's writing is intelligent, and the book, especially a long text travelog at the end, includes an astonishing array of further literary references, which may inspire some readers to seek out the original works. O'Neill's artwork is angular, moody, and sometimes grotesque, with impressive panoramic scenes of combat and destruction. Though not quite as enjoyable as the first book (but close), this is recommended for all libraries. Some surprisingly explicit sex and violence will limit it to adult collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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