"God, what a squalid thing humanity can be! Would that they all might vanish and be made invisible instead of I.”
Alan Moore’s magical beard helps him channel the glittering milk from the bosom of the Muse; it keeps him protected from all the lurky things in dark closets; and it wards off irritating little faeries scouting for motion picture deals (sadly, that last part isn't true). There are times when he makes mistakes like any normal mortal, but the League isn't one of those times, although you may be forgiven for thinking it is on your first reading. It’s painfully slow to unfold and doesn't excite in the way normal comics do. It’s only when you adjust your expectations for the second and third reading that the charms begin to shine through.
With the League, dialogue is key. It features a group of Victorian era literary characters culled from a number of different sources. Each character speaks in a manner befitting their locale and time period. The people were never meant to exist in the same universe, much less in the same book, but it really works, and the resultant clash of egos and identities adds tension.
The identity of the characters isn't explicitly revealed at the beginning. Part of the fun is figuring out who they are before you’re told. If you've read some 19th Century literature (it’s set in 1898) you’ll appreciate the work a lot more.
In short, it’s a traditional, fun, boys-own adventure with a literary slant.
The book collects together The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen issues 1 – 6.
3 sleepless nights at the girls' school out of 5