Your favorite cohort of steam-era heroes returns in another installment of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 2!
Our story starts on the surface of Mars where literary heroes Gulliver Jones (Lieut. Gulliver Jones: His Vacation, 1905) and John Carter (Princess of Mars, 1917) are organizing a resistance against an alien race of foreign origin that is trying to invade. All too quickly, aliens decide to invade the homeland of those who oppose them: Earth.
We meet up with the League when they are called in to investigate an impact crater in the countryside. Tentacled aliens make short work of the humans who try to make contact. (AKA War of the Worlds) The league retreats.
The Invisible Man slips unseen through the darkness to meet with the aliens in secret. He scribbles some pictures in the dirt and becomes their ally. After getting his intel, the aliens mount an attack from craters all over England. Like Wells’ story, they employ giant walking tripods to protect their soft, mollusc-y bodies.
While Nemo and Hyde keep London safe from the attacking hordes, Mina and Allan are sent on a mission to retrieve a special weapon from the infamous Dr. Moreau. (1896) Relationships are reshaped and bodies broken in the pages leading up to the exciting conclusion of this installment of Alan Moore‘s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
What I Thought of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 2
I liked this book, but I preferred the first “LXG”. There were some very interesting moments between Hyde and Mina, and between Mina and Allan. But, I wanted an enemy that was less unambiguously evil than killer aliens that just wanted to blow stuff up. The double crossing and false identities in the first collection made for an interesting and complex story. I was looking for the same sort of twists in my sequel rather than a romantic entanglement between the doddering Quartermain and Mina. (Yep, there is totally grandpa sex in this book.)
There is also a considerable amount of rape in this book. Two members of the League sexually assault people, so reader beware. I usually really like to see my characters grow and change, but it is tricky with this concept of bringing all of these fully-formed characters together. Too much deviation by Moore starts to feel like a betrayal rather than an homage to the original. Hyde was always meant to be a monster, so I concede there would be an implied precedent set. Still, the was so much sex, assault, and sexual assault that it got hard to finish.
Even if you don’t make it to the end, there is more to the books that just the man story. The New Traveller’s Almanac gives additional background on the world of LXG and more literary reference fun.
If you haven’t read it, check out my review of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1.