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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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12/28/2007 Archived Entry: "Graphic novel review: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier"

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier
By Alan Moore, Kevin O'Neill
DC Comics/Wildstrom America's Best Comics LLC

Review by Jane Seaton

Any hero's most subtle and dangerous enemies are close to home. And so, in 1958, Mina Harker (nee Murray) and Allan Quartermain return from exile in America (and briefly climb out of bed with each other) to recover the eponymous Black Dossier, MI5's' attempt to document and comprehend the phenomenon that is the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

This band of 'extraordinary individuals' has defended Britain from dangers as diverse as French revolutionaries, Martians, a P G Wodehouse-inspired manifestation of Lovecraft's monstrous entities and, latterly, Nazi Germany. But now they've vanished, leaving the British Empire unprotected, and MI5 is struggling replace them, having failed to recreate the League by recycling post-war B-list heroes.

As Mina and Allan flee from MI5, they pause (from flight and love-making) to read the Dossier, allowing us to discover with them how 400 years of popular culture can be reworked to document the adventures of the League's members.

The book is beautifully executed, both as literary homage and as a physical object. The only thing it lacked was a recommended reading list. The 3D effects more than justify the discomfort of the card specs, and the copulating 3D faeries are delightful.

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