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League of Extraordinary Gentlemen II #3

Posted: Monday, October 7, 2002
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Kevin O'Neill

Publisher: America's Best Comics

Plot:
The book opens with the might of the British artillery firing upon the alien craft, and after the guns fall silent the unharmed aliens return fire, and instantly vaporized the gathered British troops. We then see the League is ordered to return to London, where they find their new boss is at a bit of a loss over what to do next. As Miss Murray remains behind to study the volumes that have been collected about Mars we see Mr. Hyde, Quatermain & Nemo head out to check on the alien invaders, as it's believed the creatures haven't moved from the crater in which they landed. However, these three soon discover this isn't the case, as the aliens have constructed a massive device that affords them mobility in Earth's greater gravity. Meanwhile, back with Miss Murray we see her discover that the Invisible Man is plotting against them, but she pays for this knowledge when she is attacked by Griffin, and left unconscious on the floor. As the others return from their scouting mission to find the injured Miss Murray we see Mr. Hyde is uncharacteristically silent. We then see the group splits up again with Miss Murray & Quatermain heading to make contact with a scientist about a discovery that might help them fight the approaching invaders, while Nemo & Mr. Hyde head off to confront the aliens heading toward London in Nemo's submarine.

Comments:
As we reach the halfway point of this miniseries I have to confess I'm a bit worried, as the main problem that I had with the original League of Extraordinary Gentlemen miniseries was that Alan Moore spent a bit too much time bringing his cast together, so we only got to see the team in action together for a couple issues. This current miniseries on the other hand is spending a bit too much of its time slavishly following the story elements of H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds", and in doing so he's placed the gathered League in the position of sitting on the sidelines watching the story progress before them. Now we have had the Invisible Man approach the invaders to offer them his alliance, and in this issue Griffin makes this fact known to Miss Murray. However, this is the only noticeable change that Alan Moore has made to this classic alien invasion epic, and I worry that the League's role in this affair is going to be little more than tinkering around the edges until the rather abrupt finish that the novel sported arrives. I realize he might be reluctant to make wholesale changes to the original story but I would like to see the League become more involved than they have been thus far.

However, much like the visit with Mr. Hyde last issue, this issue has itself a very revealing look at one of its cast members, as we see the Invisible Man's capacity for evil puts Mr. Hyde to shame. The encounter that Miss Murray has with Griffin in this issue is genuinely frightening, not to mention quite surprising, as it does tip his hand far sooner than I had expected him to. However, since he is an Invisible Man I guess Griffin doesn't really need to play nice, as he can easily remain alongside the team waiting for the chance to betray them to the invaders. This issue also lays the groundwork for a confrontation between Mr. Hyde & the Invisible Man, and since these two are far and away my favorite members of the current lineup, combined with the idea that Alan Moore has promised that not every cast member will survive this miniseries, this confrontation has the ability to be quite memorable. However with the back-up text continuing to reveal which cast members of the book will survive, the list of characters who won't live to see the end of this miniseries is shrinking. Still, Mr. Hyde & the Invisible Man are still on this extinction list, so my interest is still quite high.

Kevin O'Neill turns in another wonderful looking issue, with the opening pages of this chapter being particularly effective when it comes to delivering the power of the alien invaders, as their response to the shelling by the British forces is decidedly horrific. This issue also has an equally unsettling scene where Miss Murray falls victim to the savage attentions of the Invisible Man, and Kevin O'Neill does a very credible job showing us the unseen attacks of Griffin. There's also a great looking shot of the alien invaders on the move in their transportation device, as that double-page shot delivers a wonderful sense of dread, as does the final page shot that shows us the arrival of yet another alien craft. This issue also has itself quite a few easter eggs for fans who have a great deal more familiarity than myself about this period of literature, though I did spot a bust of one of my favorites, Baron Munchausen, in the museum. This issue plays up Mr. Hyde's playful nature as we see him torment their coach driver, and then sulks when he's unable to register a reaction from the man. I also have to make mention of the back cover, as that's a great looking shot of the Invisible Man.

Final Word:
While it's nice to see that Alan Moore is following the plot of H.G. Wells novel so closely I do hope that he gives the League a bit more to do in this miniseries, as at the moment only the Invisible Man's traitorous actions have provided the only noticeable deviation from the original story. Now the issue does continue to build up the alien threat quite nicely, as the League look to be in way over their heads in this adventure, though it should be a blast to see Nemo's Nautilus square off against the alien invaders. This issue also has the Invisible Man making it quite clear to his teammates that he's no longer part of the team, as there's a decidedly unsettling sequence in this issue where he savagely beats Miss Murray. One also imagines he's still with her, as she & Quatermain go to see a scientist about a weapon they could use against the alien threat. Still, here's hoping the latter half of this miniseries allows the League to make their more strongly presence felt.



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