The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (comic volumes)

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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a comic book series written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O'Neill, publication of which began in 1999. The series spans several volumes.

Volume I[edit]

In the aftermath of the events of the novel Dracula, a now disgraced and divorced Mina Harker (née Murray) is recruited by Campion Bond on behalf of British Intelligence and asked to assemble a league of other extraordinary individuals to protect the interests of the Empire. Together with Captain Nemo, Mina travels to Cairo to locate Allan Quatermain, then on to Paris in search of Dr. Jekyll; finally in London she forcibly recruits Hawley Griffin, The Invisible Man, who completes this incarnation of the League. Meeting with Professor Cavor, the League is sent against Fu Manchu in his Limehouse lair, who has stolen the only known sample of cavorite and plans to use it to build an armed airship, against which Britain would have little defence. Having eventually retrieved the cavorite, the League delivers it into the hands of their employer — none other than Professor Moriarty (nemesis of Sherlock Holmes), who plans to use it in an airship of his own, with which he will bomb his adversary's Limehouse lair flat, taking large parts of London and the League itself with it. An aerial battle above London commences, and the League eventually triumphs. Mycroft Holmes replaces Moriarty as the League's employer, and the extraordinary individuals are given the task of remaining in the service of the Crown, awaiting England's call. It is shown some kind of a meteor shower, leading up to the events in Volume II.

Volume II[edit]

Placed during the events of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds, Volume II opens on Mars, where John Carter and Lt. Gullivar Jones (of Edwin Lester Arnold's Gullivar of Mars) have assembled an alliance to fight against Martian invaders. When the invaders are forced off Mars and land on Earth, they begin to build their tripods. Griffin leaves the League under cover of invisibility to form an alliance with the invaders before betraying it outright, stealing plans for the defence of London as well as physically and emotionally assaulting Mina.

Mycroft Holmes deploys Nemo and Hyde to defend the capital by patrolling London's rivers in the Nautilus. Meanwhile Murray and Quatermain meet up with Dr. Moreau in his secret hideout in the forest, and tell him that MI5 has asked for something known as H-142. Hyde returns to the British Museum and tortures Griffin; breaking Griffin's leg and raping him before murdering him. Hyde dies fighting a tripod, allowing time for MI5 to launch H-142. However, before he goes to fight the tripods, he asks Mina for two things: for her to give him a kiss, and permission to touch her breast.

MI5 then launches H-142: a hybrid bacterium, made up of anthrax and streptococcus. Nemo is infuriated about H-142, and Bond coolly replies that they will claim that, officially, the Martians died of the common cold, whilst any humans found dead will have been killed by Martians. Angered by the British government's heartless use of biological weaponry, Nemo leaves in the Nautilus and tells Quatermain and Murray to "never seek [him] again", mistakenly believing that they knew the details of the British plan.

Black Dossier[edit]

Promotional image from The Black Dossier

Presented as a stand-alone sourcebook, rather than as the third volume, the Black Dossier has a framing sequence set not in the Victorian era but in 1958. Events take place after the fall of the Big Brother government from Nineteen Eighty Four. (The in-story explanation for this apparent date-shift is that Orwell's book was published in 1948.) The story itself sees Mina Harker and Allan Quatermain—now immortal after bathing in the fire of youth from She—on their quest to recover the Black Dossier itself (a confessed macguffin), in a metafictional unravelling of the secret history of the now-disbanded League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Out to stop them is a trio of secret agents: James Bond, Emma Night, and Hugo "Bulldog" Drummond. The pursuit takes Mina and Allan from London to Scotland and eventually to the magical Blazing World, overseen by Shakespeare's Prospero.

Initially intended to be accompanied by a 45-rpm record featuring songs referenced in the plot, this addition was shelved ostensibly to be included as an incentive with the 'Absolute Edition', and ultimately dropped entirely—to the chagrin of the author/singer.

Volume III: Century[edit]

Promotional image from Century.

The third volume, a 216-page epic spanning almost a hundred years and entitled Century, is divided into three 72-page chapters, each a self-contained narrative. The volumes were tentatively scheduled to be released annually with Part 1 released on May 13, 2009; Part 2 not released until July 28, 2011; and Part 3 being released in June 2012.[1]

Century: 1910[edit]

Chapter one is set against a backdrop of London, 1910, with Halley's Comet passing overhead, the nation prepares for the coronation of King George V, and far away on his South Atlantic island, the scientist-pirate Captain Nemo is dying. In the bowels of the British Museum, Carnacki the ghost-finder is plagued by visions of a shadowy occult order who are attempting to create something called a Moonchild, while on London's dockside the most notorious serial murderer of the previous century has returned to carry on his grisly trade.

Century: 1969[edit]

Chapter two takes place almost 60 years later in the psychedelic daze of Swinging London during 1969, a place where tadukic acid diethylamide 26 is the drug of choice, and where different underworlds are starting to overlap dangerously to an accompaniment of sit-ins and sitars. A thoroughly modern Mina Murray and her dwindling league of comrades attempt to navigate the perilous rapids of London's hippie and criminal subculture, as well as the twilight world of its occultists. Starting to buckle from the pressures of the twentieth century and the weight of their own endless lives, Mina and her companions must nevertheless prevent the making of a Moonchild that might well turn out to be the Antichrist.

Century: 2009[edit]

In chapter three, the narrative draws to its cataclysmic close in London 2009. The magical child whose ominous coming has been foretold for the past hundred years has now been born and has grown up to claim his dreadful heritage. His promised eon of unending terror can commence, the world can now be ended starting with North London.[2]

Nemo Trilogy[edit]

Presented as a stand alone hardcover spin-off rather than a new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen story.

Nemo: Heart of Ice[edit]

Nemo: Heart of Ice follows Janni Dakkar to Antarctica in 1925. The story opens with Nemo and her crew robbing a great treasure from Ayesha, who appears to have great influence over Charles Foster Kane. Nemo travels to Antarctica as her father once did on a trip that drove him mad. Kane recruits Frank Reade Jr., Jack Wright, and Tom Swift to retrieve Ayesha's treasure from Nemo. The trio follow her to Antarctica where they encounter a pit that leads to Yuggoth, a mysterious white giant and an ice sphinx. The chase ends at the Mountains of Madness, where clever trickery on the part of Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen puts Swift and Reade in the path of a Shoggoth that consumes Reade and drives Swift mad.

Nemo: The Roses of Berlin[edit]

This story takes place in 1941. After Janni Dakkar and Broad Arrow Jack's daughter Hira and her husband Armand Robur are captured by Adenoid Hynkel's Nazi-forces, Nemo and Jack go to Berlin on a rescue mission only to find out they have been lured into a trap. They are soon pursued by the remains of the Twilight Heroes, Maria and Dr. Caligari. Dr. Mabuse later helps the pair evade capture and reveals to the them the plot had been orchestrated by Ayesha, who has become an ally of Hynkel, to get her vengeance after the events of "Heart of Ice." Dr. Mabuse tells Nemo and Jack that Hira was pronounced lost at sea and Armand Robur is currently being held by Hynkel. Nemo and Jack raid Gestapo H.Q. and free Armand but Jack has to sacrifice himself so that Nemo and Armand can escape. Nemo kills Dr. Caligari which causes his soldiers to destroy Maria. Nemo decapitates Ayesha in a brutal sword fight. The Robur-aircraft arrives and picks up Armand and Janni. Hira, revealed to have survived the downing of The Terror, uses Robur's aircraft to level Berlin.

Nemo: River of Ghosts[edit]

This book will be set in 1975 in South America. [3] The publisher description[4] states: "it’s 1975. Janni Dakkar, pirate queen of Lincoln Island and head of the fabled Nemo family, is eighty years old and beginning to display a tenuous grasp on reality. Pursuing shadows from her past—or her imagination—she embarks on what may be a final voyage down the vastness of the Amazon, a last attempt to put to rest the blood-drenched spectres of old. With allies and adversaries old and new, we accompany an ageing predator on her obsessive trek into the cultural landscape of a strange new continent, from the ruined city of Yu-Atlanchi to the fabulous plateau of Maple White Land. As the dark threads in her narrative are drawn into an inescapable web, Captain Nemo leads her hearse-black Nautilus in a desperate raid on horrors believed dead for decades.

Chronological settings[edit]

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics are generally set in the 20th century, but the chronological order of the fictional world does not correspond with the order of release:

# Title Year
1 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume I 1898
2 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II 1898
3 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Black Dossier 1958
3a * The Black Dossier - Life of Orlando 1953
3b * The Black Dossier - Faerie's Fortunes Founded 1620
3c * The Black Dossier - The New Adventures of Fanny Hill 1912
3d * The Black Dossier - Shadows in the Steam 1908
4 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume III: Century 1910 1910
5 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume III: Century 1969 1969
6 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume III: Century 2009 2009
7 Nemo: Heart of Ice 1925
8 Nemo: The Roses of Berlin 1941
9 Nemo: River of Ghosts 1975

Collections[edit]

Cover of Volume II

References[edit]