Sunday, June 17, 2012

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Volume 2 (spoilers)

I have really looked forward to reading this graphic novel.  Volume two in the series promised to be  particularly thrilling for me as it is, basically, all about what has always been for me the genesis of a long lasting love affair with science fiction.  Ever since I was nine-years-old and was freaking out over Jeff Wayne's  musical re-telling of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, I have been hooked.  Terrified, fascinated, but hooked.  Throw a mention of Mars or Martians into the story line of any book and I have to read it.  I have found several great writers that way, Ray Bradbury being one of them when I read his Martian Chronicles (my first ever Bradbury), there was just no looking back after that.

The first book was really exciting for me.   We begin on Mars itself, with Gullivar (of Gullivar of Mars by Edwin Lester Arnold) flying on his carpet to meet with none other than John Carter from The Barsoom Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  They are planning an attack on some unwelcome guests (guess who?) that are encamped in molluscs.   This is something I have just loved about this series of comics by Alan Moore.  All of our heroes, featured in a story together.  For the most part, I had already read most of these stories (with the exception of Gullivar but I got right on to that).  I was almost vibrating with excitement to see the Sorns in the fight against the molluscs (from Out of The Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis).  Gotta love that!  We get our first look at a martian (another shivery thrill fest), before they all flee the planet, leaving Gullivar and John to discover that the invaders have been observing Earth (by using a device from H.G. Wells' The Crystal Egg)  and are now on their way to the planet.

(End of spoilers, I promise)

We cut to Earth from there and I have to say that I was really pleased with how the story was written, and illustrated.  I think that of all the movies I've seen, and cover art, this was the most faithful rendition from H.G. Well's book.  With graphic novels you are able to say so much more than words, and looking at each page it felt like a treasure hunt looking for clues to what book might be featured in each page. The literal graphic nature of the violence that a story of this kind includes was not gratuitous and very neccessary to the telling of this story (and what a twisted, horrible story it was!), and all in keeping with the orignal horror story of  Martians invading the Earth in the late 19th century.  While I don't know if I could go on and read more from this series, the first two are just simply wonderful reads, and a brilliant combination of artist and writer, who are obviously huge fans of classical science fiction.

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