Tuesday, 17 June 2008


Doctor Who [classic]
22x12 Revelation of the Daleks Part One [2nd watch]
I'll post a review of this story after Part Two, tomorrow.

1x01 Beginnings [2nd watch]

4x08 The Russian (aka Traitor in a Friend)
Spooks fairly runs down the 'unfeasible plots' route now, with an episode in which there's an MI5 conspiracy against the Government... instigated by Harry! Meanwhile, Adam has to deal with Psychological Issues, in what's in some respects just a rehash of Tom's storyline in season three.


The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier by Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill
The Sincerest Form of Flattery (pages 113-115)
What Ho, Gods of the Abyss by Bertram Wooster (pages 116-119)
Graphic Novel, Section 3 (pages 120-145)
When They Sound the Last All Clear (pages 146-147)
The Warralson Team, 1946-1947 (pages 148-149)
The Crazy Wide Forever by Sal Paradyse (pages 150-155)
SexJane (Tijuana bible insert)
Director's Summary (pages 156-157)
See here for my thoughts on these sections of Black Dossier.


Silent Cry (Deluxe Edition) by Feeder

"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier" by Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill - Running Commentary, Part 5

A bumper-bonus lot of sections commented on today, as I raced through several sections of both the Dossier and interwoven action, helped along by the more modern, easier-to-read style of these documents, and the comic's addictively speedy plot.

First up are a couple of pages that detail the League's German and French counterparts. The German ones are given fairly short shrift, as if Moore either doesn't care about them or couldn't find enough decent German characters to make them worthwhile. Consequently the French ones are more interesting, and here Moore sets about detailing the battle that I mentioned before. It's great to know what happened, but disappointing that it's told here as it surely lessens the chances of a proper visual version of it appearing later. It reads a bit like a plot description for a comic, however, suggesting either that's how it originated, is where it's headed (fingers crossed), or that Moore still thinks like a comics writer (of course, many of the other prose pieces in the dossier would belie this, but then in those instances he's specifically imitating another style).

After this, Moore plunges into an amusing Jeeves & Wooster parody, called What Ho, Gods of the Abyss. It's wittily written and gives readers a brief chance to see the post-WWI second Murray Group in action, and whacks in a bit more of the Lovecraft stuff (fast becoming overdone, if you ask me -- and there's more of it yet). It's unsurprising that the Murray groups would get such emphasis -- speaking in-universe, it would be easiest for the Dossier's compilers to find notes and works that refer to them; out of it, they're the group most familiar to readers, and so the one many will be most interested in hearing new adventures of.

After this, it's back to the story of Mina and Allan in 1958. They're on their way to the Birmingham Spaceport, but they've been betrayed... One of the advantages of a graphic novel (rather than episodic issue) format comes out here, as Moore isn't limited to 22 pages for any of these segments. So earlier, for example, he could pack in a load of exposition without worrying that it would basically dominate an issue, and now he can run to 26 pages for a chunk of plot. It's a good section too, as the 'new League' catch up with our heroes at the fantastically realised Spaceport and a battle ensues. At one point Moore even pulls off a neat trick, which isn't uncommon on TV/film but I've personally not seen applied in print, where -- unannounced -- the story jumps back in time to follow another character, for four pages, before they hit the same point as we left. (It's one of those things that works fine when read but sounds awkward when abstractly explained.) I'm sure it's spoiling nothing to say Allan and Mina escape (their most dramatic yet), and it's back into the final section of documents from the Dossier...

The final set of documents round off the story of the Murray Groups, up to the early 1950s. The first is a simple factual report outlining the activities of the surviving members of the second group during World War II. A bit like some sections, especially in the Almanac, it's mostly timeline-filling for those who are interested. The following section is more amusing, detailing a League formed in 1946 that was in every respect an imitation of the first Murray Group, apart from that it only had one mission that failed miserably. Most of the characters Moore chooses for this line-up are even more obscure than those in the other Leagues, it seems to me, but they serve their purpose.

The penultimate piece is a parody of a beat novel, using characters from the works of Jack Kerouac. It's an appalling style if you ask me, hellish to read -- or, rather, battle through -- and with minimal discernible artistic merit. The story is just another adventure for Allan and Mina while they were AWOL in America (during the Big Brother years for the UK -- and who wouldn't want to escape the dominance of British Big Brother?), which offers little even if you can fight your way through it. I found the trick to understanding was just to keep reading and not try to understand everything that's being said, after which I managed to glean enough information to more or less follow what was going on. As I said, it's a small, inconsequential side adventure.

Finally, there's a summing up from the director of MI5 (the same one who's in place when Black Dossier's set). It doesn't sum up the whole Dossier, but again focuses on the exploits of the remnants of the final Murray Group, as far as they're known by MI5, up until the time of its writing in 1956. Maybe some of this will have some relevance in the coming sections (a bit of research I did to explain one reference suggests it might), but otherwise there's little new/exciting/relevant info.

And that concludes the Dossier section of Black Dossier! Next time, it's back to the plot as it races towards its climax...