Thursday, May 15, 2008

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier by Alan Moore

I have the first TPB (trade paperback), the second TPB; so why not buy the third one as well!

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier is an original graphic novel in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic book series. Written by Alan Moore and drawn by Kevin O'Neill, most of you might remember the name via the lousy movie starring Sean Connery in 2003.

Warning: If you remember the movie, ignore it because that crap has nothing to do with the comic book series.

As a rule, I don't buy hardcover TPBs; I find them a waste of money and frankly I can't see the differences between a hardcover and non-hardcover TPBs. However considering the ongoing saga between Alan Moore and DC Comics, god knows when The Black Dossier will see print again.

The Black Dossier differs from the first two series in that it is not a limited series later collected into a trade paperback, but design as a graphic novel in itself. The difference? None whatsoever. It is still a great read.

Set in 1958, the story follows Mina Harker and the now immortal Allan Quatermain on their own after the disbandment of the League. To keep the League's secrets, they went to steal/recover the Black Dossier, the secret history of the now-disbanded League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The British government did not like that and sent out their own trio of agents to stop them.

As usual, half the fun was in spotting all the characters Moore managed to squeeze into the book. The trio of secret agents the British sent are a young spy named Jimmy Bond (a great thinly-veiled James Bond), another young agent named Emma Night (Emma Peel from The Avengers), and Hugo Drummond (who I believe is a pulp detective from a series of novels). As the Black Dossier is a book by itself, Moore also used this vehicle to showcase some of the characters from the earlier Leagues.

As Murray and Quatermain read the dossier, we see stories like the life of the immortal warrior Orlando, the founding of the first League by Prospero from "The Tempest", a sequel to Fanny Hill among others. What I especially like was the League created by the French. Moore even manage to include Arsène Lupin in it. Ha!

I also like the name-check of Sinbad in he Orlando story and the way Moore managed Jimmy Bond. If they ever want to have a comic book series for James, GET MOORE TO DO IT! Jimmy was brutal, womanizing and a totally ruthless killer. The way James was before the later movies cut off his balls.

Of course, the book isn't prefect. Some of the characters make me go, "Who?" (anyone know who was that black cartoon guy at the end with the flying ship?) and you really need to read the first 2 series before you can fully understand this one. A great series, now I just to wait a year or two for the next series. Till then...I'll enjoy this book.

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