A Blazing World
The Unofficial Companion to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - Vol 2

Author: Jess Nevins
Titan Books
RRP: 12.99
ISBN 1 84576 317 3
Available 23 June 2006

Alan Moore's comic book series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has been a huge critical success, leading to multiple printings and a $175 million blockbuster motion picture. This in-depth analysis of the second volume of the graphic novel series is packed with intriguing insights, commentary by co-creator Kevin O'Neill, essays on the literary and historical origins of the various members of the "League" and their creators, and a exhaustive analysis of each panel of the story. Also featuring a rare interview with and introduction by Moore...

Jess, Oh Jess, you're a poor deluded person and we love you for it. For anyone who hasn't read his first book, Heroes & Monsters, Jess is an obsessional person whose dedication to uncovering every reference in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic books would have led any saner person to a complete and utter breakdown. Once more for your delectation Jess has put his life on hold and his eyesight at risk to ferret out all the Victorian and Edwardian references in the second chapter of that excellent series.

What we have here is pure fan porn which will have them salivating like a tramp menacing school girls, a book that has contains everything that you could possibly want to know. Of course, as it refers to specific panels in the comic, you will need to either have these already (and if you don't hang your head in shame) or pretend that you had amnesia for the last few years and are just now catching up with the good stuff. Oddly enough, it turns out that the information provided is both entertaining and educational. I loved that Jess spent hours staring at a particular carpet for hours on end, even holding it up to a mirror only to be told by Kevin O'Neill that the whole thing was just a design without meaning, now that's dedication. However, such set backs are not enough to deter a hero on the edge of insanity like Jess.

One of the things that did surprise me was that the title of the book still declares it to be an unofficial companion. If you have not only the blessing, but also contributions from both the writer Alan Moore and the artist Kevin O'Neill, I'm not really sure how more official it can be and it seems a little unfair to Jess, given the amount of hard work he's put in. This unofficial book has an introduction by Alan Moore as well as an interview with both Moore and Kevin O'Neill.

The only down side to the book is that it is very much a niche publication, without access to the comics much of the text is interesting but out of context. Hopefully Titan will soon be republishing the original comics so that readers can get the best out of both books. The book gets a good mark and a free six months in rehab for Jess, to wean him off his addiction.

Charles Packer

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