Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The League of Extrordinary Gentlemen vol. I

Before I got around to reading this wonderful title, I was tainted by having watched the movie adaptation. The movie was only a so-so action picture so I wasn't too keen on reading the material it was based upon... that is until I found out it was written by Alan Moore. More than 90% of the time, Moore's stuff turns out to be wonderful. The other 10% of the time it turns out to only be ok. No matter which category his stuff falls into, I have yet to read anything by him that has turned out to suck.

The first volume of LXG straddles the line between being simply ok and being wonderful. It was a lot of fun to see these classic characters put into a superhero team sent out to save England, but at the same time I didn't find the characters as interesting here as I did in their original works. I expected it to be the other way around with Moore writing it, but somehow he took each character, created one overwhelming personal trait, and then used that singular trait to showcase how the character would handle each situation.

The invisible man has no conscience. Quartermain is an adventurer. Mina is a very naive, yet resourceful woman. Jeckyl/Hyde is reserved & nervous as Jeckyl and a murdering beast as Hyde. Nemo is the smart, noble warrior. Other than those traits, each character's personality and personal history was left pretty much untouched in favor of the plot, which usually wouldn't be a terrible thing, but I would have enjoyed more exploration of how the characters interact and how they have developed since their adventures in their respective classic novels as opposed to having them introduced and then focusing on the plot.

The plot was pretty transparent as well, which is surprising considering it was written by Moore. There's a betrayal of the team, which is heavily foreshadowed. There's the obligatory grand scale battle scene that takes an entire issue. There's the passage where the villain contemplates his evilness and justifies it to himself, yet the audience knows he's simply just a bad guy. Everything seemed quite formulaic and by the numbers, except it had these classic literature figures saving the day.

The art was ok. It wasn't all that spectacular, but it did its job. It could have been much, much worse and I actually preferred the liney, somewhat scrawled art on display here than most of the quasi-manga-cartoonish art that populates most of the current crop of titles from the big four.

Art: 3
Story: 3.5
Overall: 3.25

No comments: