Book Report: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier
According to one election quiz, I should vote for John Edwards or Ron Paul. According to two election quizzes, I should vote for Bill Richardson. According to yet another, I should vote for Kucinich. How do I know which election quiz I should listen to? Maybe I should set up a poll. That sounds hard. Instead, how about I present a book report for "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier"?
This latest graphic novel in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series is a framing story and then a bunch of little bits--ephemera of the League and its past incarnations. The framing story is fun. The ephemera are less so, or maybe that's my fault. I don't like the right stories; I don't know all of these stories. (Yes, I know about the excellent online annotations, and I am grateful for them. It's all very well to learn that something is a reference to Mighty Moth; if I don't care about Mighty Moth, that reference doesn't make me like the work any more.)
I'm not a fan of the H.P. Lovecraft mythos, so I didn't appreciate the Chthulhiana--not even the short Cthulhish story in the style of Wodehouse, not even the other Cthulhish short story, this one in the style of a sort of deranged Kerouac. I'm not a fan of Shakespearean comedy (probably for the same reason that future scholars will say "Thanks to years of study, I think I see why 'I can has var?' was supposed to be funny, but it doesn't really make me laugh.") So the fake Shakespearean comedy which also [I'll leave out what else happens in this bit, lest I spoil the ending] left me cold.
The further adventures of Fanny Hill as she wanders across mystical lands in other fiction of the time which I haven't heard of and which I'm not sure why I'm supposed to care about and... And is this the most self-indulgent thing that Alan Moore has ever done? Gah.
But the framing story is still pretty good. Wandering around in England after the fall of Big Brother, exploring a school for spies, explaining a naming scheme for rocket ships. The story of the immortal Orlando told in the form of a sort of boy's adventure comic serial, that was pretty good. Maybe... maybe this is one of those books that you want to pick up, but be ready to skim. When you start reading the, say, the fake Shakespearean comedy, if you don't like the first couple of paragraphs, skip the rest of that part. It's fine, you'll still be able to follow the story. And the story, overall, is pretty good.