Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Blackest Of Dossiers!

The Black Dossier came out and I snatched up a copy. I promptly put it away and never got around to reading it. Finally I have and I must say that while I find the 1958 setting of an alternate-universe Britain recovering from the "Big Brother" period and poised on the precipice of space travel enjoyable, and the update on the characters Mina Murray and Allan Quartermain interesting much of this wild yarn is just too bewildering.

Whereas the early volumes of adventures of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" were rich with allusions and literary references, this book is overcome with them, so much so that the story grinds to a halt for me as I just gave up trying to figure it all out.

Here is a look at the Jess Nevins site which attempts to annotate the myriad references in this volume. It's a gigantic job and as I read through it I realized I never had a chance as most of the material was so Brit specific that I never knew of it to begin with, let alone have a chance to recognize it.

On the upside I have read Bulldog Drummond stories recently and that made his appearance much more enjoyable, in fact he's the stand out addition to the saga in this  installment, despite his loathsome ethnic opinions.

I cannot exactly recommend The Black Dossier, but I won't say you shouldn't try it either. It's a strange brew indeed.

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  1. I had a similar reaction to this, and the Century series, which I'd been really looking forward to. I actually was surprised and amused at some of the references (The Ruling Class was a favorite movie of mine and ties in easily to any Jack the Ripper reference.) But these latest episodes of the League seem less about exciting pulp plots involving the great characters of Victorian legend, and more about making agile connections between esoteric references. It's like watching someone solving a particularly involved crossword puzzle. You can admire how clever it is, without seeing much point to it.

    Alan Moore has written some of my favorite comics of all time, but he's not compelled to cater to my tastes or do anything other than follow his Muse. I hope he'll get back to writing stuff I'm interested in, but I'll be more than content with what he's already given us.

    1. Well put.

      I've been reading the Miracleman reprints from Marvel and have entered into stories which are new to me. I'm beginning to see the series spiral down a bit as the writing becomes heavy. It's a blend, it always is.

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