I’ve never before bought anything Alan Moore has written and thought, “wow, that was a waste of my money.”
So I guess that’s a new experience!
I just got my copy from Amazon yesterday (which was very inconvenient, since I spent the day reading it instead of studying for a British Romantic Literature exam this morning; but the snowstorm caused that to be cancelled, so no harm done).
There are some fun parts (the framing sequences, the fake Shakespeare, Fanny Hill, and Orlando segments), but others that seem to be purposefully inscrutable (the beat narrative, the headache-inducing 3D ending, the many, many pages of text).
The first two volumes made extensive literary references while still telling a clear story, but here the references totally overwhelm it (and the obscurity factor has been jacked up to 11).
I was conflicted about it. I enjoyed it, yes – generally it was a decent read. This is a brief piece of filler before the final volume. The story was pretty much a set-up, and it felt like it. Without revealing key spoilers…
Moore’s brilliant twists made up for the less compelling story – Chaplin’s Hynkel instead of Hitler? The government of 1984 taking power briefly in 1948? Classical mythology getting its due in graphic novels, including the Aeneid? Wonderful. The German and French Leagues were masterfully assembled – I wish the story had kept pace. Lovecraftian references, hooray! A Pynchon aside, hurrah! Triffids, This Island Earth, and an indictment on James Bond.
However, the whole Fanny Hill thing was too long and a bit too grotesque. I appreciate Moore’s activism for his views on sexual liberation, but he took it a bit too far here, to the point where Fanny Hill was dehumanized (unlike the other characters of past LoEG volumes) and was just a sexual punchline (the Tijuana Bible was along the same lines – or maybe it was just that O’Neill’s art was too creepy there).
Overall, I enjoyed it. It wasn’t great, it was doomed by the high expectations, and Moore took some shortcuts in order to reach his quirky references sooner, but I wasn’t too disappointed.
I enjoyed his fake Shakespeare, and I think the Beat novel was also a reference to Lovecraft’s “The Rats in the Walls,” where the narrator trails off into incomprehensible rambling (more so than normal Lovecraftian speech) after facing a major threat, going from modern English to archaic English to Latin, etc.
I loved it. All but the Beat novel. That I couldn’t even get through. I also got it signed by Kevin O’Neill. He drew me Hyde on the inside cover!
I suppose I’m one of the few who were not disappointed by the Dossier. But then, based on the first two volumes, I was expecting gorgeous artwork, a half-baked plot, a certain amount of embarrassingly juvenile perversion, and a prose section that I wouldn’t want to read. And it’s safe to say that my expectations were more than met on all accounts.
I think a lot of the negative reactions to the book stem from the fact that a lot of people (not necessarily you, MGK) were expecting another LXG story, which this really isn’t. It’s more like the Guidebook to the LXG Universe. It fleshes out the world and history, elaborates further on a few characters we’ve heard mentioned but never known much about, and sets up future storylines. Moore has said in interviews he wanted to see if he could make the League work in any time period, from the distant past to the present day to the far future, using the same rationale behind the “original” Victorian League; namely, collect characters and tell stories about them teaming up in the style of that time period. I think he’s pulled that off admirably.
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