A Farewell

Thank you for reading my blog and I certainly do hope that I was able to shed some light and detail on each character that makes up the “Fab Five.” Each character represents a certain aspect of British national identity, whether the government or Empire would like to admit so. Alan Moore did an excellent job of bringing together each character from different original texts into his own and produced stories that will forever be a part of British identity. Each character defies the expected British identity of the government but they also each represent an identity that is put forth by the British citizens. As Jason Jones states in an article, “The League is all about perspective, about who can see what and whether those views are at all reliable” (Jones, 116).

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I wanted to leave readers with one last video of the movie trailer that was adapted from these books. Of course Hollywood changed all sorts of things to fit their needs; so it begs the question if the movie has the same influence or effects that the graphic novels did.

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Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde- Man or Monster?

This is a great analysis about whether Mr. Hyde is a monster; well stated!

The Decline of the Empire and the rise of The League

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde  are characters from Robert Louis Stevenson‘s novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the same person Mr. Hyde is Dr. Jekyll’s evil counterpart. In Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Dr. Jekyll creates a potion which releases his evil morally-challenged alter ego (Westerblom 28).  In Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Mr. Hyde is a more prominent character than Dr. Jekyll, although when they find Mr. Hyde it is because he is destroying an area of Paris. Dr. Jekyll only appears for a short period of time in both the first volume and the second volume. He allows for his evil side to overcome him which is how Mr. Hyde is produced. This post will focus on Mr. Hyde as he is more important character to both The League and representing the decline of the British…

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Dr. Jekyll/Mr.Hyde

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde can from the story of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louise Stevenson. These two characters are the best example out of the five, in my opinion, who really demonstrate the confliction of British national identity. In Stevenson’s text, Dr. Jekyll is the ideal white gentleman. He is the guy that every girl wants to be with because he is intelligent, handsome, high morals and just basically has it all. Dr. Jekyll represents everything that British national identity would hope to possess; especially with his morals. However, like every other individual, Dr. Jekyll had a sinful side that he continuously attempted to repress. He used his scientific knowledge to develop a potion that “releases his repressed, morally challenged alter ego” (Westerldom, 28). Hence, where Mr. Hyde comes into play. Mr. Hyde was all the sinful, immoral thoughts and feelings that Dr. Jekyll had but obviously never wanted to express. Thus he created a very major split personality for himself. Mr. Hyde represents all evil that possibly lives within someone. He has no control over his actions and evidently does the things in society that civilized people will not do (Humphreys).

The appearance of Dr. Jekyll in Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is the look of a weak and cowardly man, who constantly looks uneasy. The reason for this is because Mr. Hyde has become such a dominant part of Dr. Jekyll, which Jekyll can no longer control when Hyde appears. It seems that although Jekyll was only hoping to release his immoral alter ego from time to time, that seemed to backfire and Hyde became much more dominant and strong than Jekyll could ever imagine. At the beginning of volume I, Mina and Quatermain find Hyde killing prostitutes, showing how outrageous he is. Throughout the graphic novel, there are several scenes where Mr. Hyde becomes vicious and violent, often murdering many different people. Hyde is an image that British national identity would never admit to possessing, but a degree of Hyde lives in many people. By the second graphic novel, Dr. Jekyll is barely ever seen, fore Hyde has become the most dominant of the two. Hyde represents the qualities that individuals attempt to suppress, but Hyde reminds us of imperfection. There is much debate as to whether Hyde was a monster or hero. In accordance to British identity, monster would be the more respectable answer. However, Hyde did demonstrate in different situations that he was more complex than expected. Mina Murray was someone who did not fear Hyde and actually treated him with some respect. That forced a different kind of treatment out of Hyde, where he in turn respected her. He showed a different kind of emotion that demonstrated he wasn’t just the monster; there was more to him than what meant the eye. Hyde felt protective of Mina and when Griffin attacked her, Hyde killed Griffin in the most gruesome way imaginable, disturbing actually. Even though his method was disturbing, it was the emotion that Hyde had towards Mina that would enable him to kill Griffin that way to begin with. Another interesting experience where Hyde acted unexpected was again with Mina, before he was going to sacrifice himself to the martians. He touched her heart and said, “Oh. It’s thundering. So fast…So very fast. I was right then, about this world. Always I knew that heaven would be the cruellest of places. Farewell, my perfect Mina” (Moore). Hyde demonstrates is not much of a monster in this moment with Mina, he is someone who feels.

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are two characters that are on opposite sides of a coin. Jekyll is the ideal British national identity; someone who is charming and morally a very good person. Hyde represents all the sinful, evil qualities that live in people. Moore allows for Hyde to overpower Dr. Jekyll, really speaking to the meaning of British identity. The government and empire would love for each citizen to be like Dr. Jekyll and for the national identity to epitomize that; however, the fact that Mr. Hyde dominants Jekyll and evidently diminishes him, shows how what the ideal national identity would like to be, just doesn’t always pan out as planned.

Captain Nemo of the Nautilus

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Captain Nemo was developed by Jules Verne in the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and its sequel, Mysterious Island. Nemo was a very intelligent scientist, who came from nobility (Humphreys). He was extremely mysterious and not like your ordinary hero, such as James Bond. He was the Sherlock Holmes image under the sea. He is an ambiguous figure, who has to think like the bad guy in order to catch the bad guy (Humphreys). In 20,000 Leagues, Nemo is a very mysterious but intelligent character who seeks justice in killing warships. However, his method also jeopardizes many innocent lives; which is where it becomes difficult to view Nemo as a hero. The main factor though is that Nemo creates roder of disorder (Humphreys). Although he did kill innocent lives, he was diminishing a war that in the end would ruin more lives than he was. At the end of Mysterious Island, Captain Nemo is so disgusted with humans on land that he “resigned” himself from living on land and from other people (Westerldom, 18-19).

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In the League, Nemo is portrayed as a very mysterious man, who has many reasons to dislike the British Empire. He is very individualistic, who judges everything the group does. There is little mention of his previous life adventures, and absolutely no mention of the family he has lost. The entire two volumes, Nemo is a very dark character that readers can’t quite understand and no little about. He represents a national identity of Britain that the British Empire/Government would completely disagree with. Moore uses Nemo to demonstrate how non-white individuals were treated. Non-white people are never understood and there is no effort made to change that either. However, British national identity would perceive to be accepting and willing to acknowledge all races. Nemo is used to demonstrate how non-white individuals are just as capable to save a nation as any white individual.

In addition to aiding the viewpoint of non-white citizens, Nemo also provides an image of someone who questions what their government does. He speaks his opinions and does not back down from authority. A strong incident is at the end of vol. II, when Mr. Bond discusses with Mina, Quatermain and Nemo that H-142 was a hybrid full of anthrax and streptococcus that was released in London. He explains that “Officially, the martians died of the common cold. Any humans died of martians” (Moore). Although both Mina and Quatermain are upset by the fact the British Empire would be killing innocent people still in London, it was Nemo that was horribly offended and distraught. He outrages, “E-England has disease bombs? And you have made Nemo party to their use? You are dogs, all of you! I resign from this league of yours!” (Moore). Nemo does not like being toyed or played with by anyone, especially those who he is trying to assist. Because he constantly questioned his superiors and was outraged by their deception, Nemo defies the identity that Britain would be trying to uphold. They would expect others to accept what the government was doing at face-value and therefore would disregard individuals like Nemo. Although Nemo defies British national identity, he sets a standard for citizens within society who should question what they’re government does and what is requested of them.

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Hawley Griffin

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Griffin is the one character of the fab five that is less than an ideal citizen. H.G Wells wrote Invisible Man which features Griffin as a scientist who is trying to get cells to reflect light (Humphreys). Throughout Wells’ text, Griffin is continuously betrayed by others and therefore he develops a life of petty crimes. He demonstrates himself as someone who does not trust humanity based on his experiences and possesses basic desires. At the end of Invisible Man, Griffin is dragged out to the streets and beaten by many different people.

Clearly Alan Moore brings Griffin back to life, as he does with Nemo, and Quatermain, for them to be a part of The League. Griffin is the last member to be found in the first volume. Mina, Quatermain, Nemo find him at a girls school in Edmonton, where the women are being impregnated by who they think is the Holy Spirit. In reality, it is Griffin loitering around and sleeping with the women during the night. This experience alone demonstrates how Griffin is taking advantage of a situation. The group recruits Griffin to join them in their quest to save Britain from the evil doctor. As the graphic novel progresses, Griffin shows himself to be untrustworthy and sketchy. As a reader, you wonder why Griffin would want to help England and he says, “I’m here to earn a pardon, and perhaps a cure. The only empire I’m interested in is my own: The empire of Invisible man the first” (Moore). Griffin only cares about himself; he demonstrates complete selfishness and lacks any remorse for other individuals around him. Moore uses Griffin to show how British identity can be completely disregarded but people who are only interested in themselves. Also, Moore uses Griffin to demonstrate how British government promotes free choice but in a controlled manner; Griffin defies that by being invisible. Because he is invisible, it plays into the fact that if you are seen, then you can be policed and controlled. There is basically no control over Griffin because you never know where he is and the only control is within his possession. He has the ability to be seen or to have his presence unknown. The only person who can see him is Mr. Hyde, which in the end leads to Griffin’s death.

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In the second volume of The League, Griffin betrays the group in two different ways. The first way is he assists the martians that are landing on earth. He explains to them that they will be ruling the world next to him. He trusts the martians before he trusts humanity and is completely immoral. Although betraying the League by assisting the martians is substantial, the next betrayal is what leads to his death. He attacks Mina Murray in a horrific manner, which ultimately betrays the nation. Mina represents England, she epitomizes the British image and therefore when Griffin attacks her, he betrays England as well. Griffin completely defies British national identity and in the end also betrays it. However, there are individuals similar and therefore he does represent a small portion of British identity, with no public face.

Allan Quatermain

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When I first started reading volume I of The League, I figured that Allan Quatermain would become the leader of the group. I honestly didn’t think that he would play out to the character he was. Although Allan is the typical, white British male; Moore uses this character to demonstrate the “has-been” of the British Empire. Quatermain was developed by Sir Henry Rider Haggard in a fourteen book series, the most popular being King Solomons Mine. In this text, Quatermain is hired by a man, Sir Henry Curtis, to search for his lost brother.  Throughout the book, the group of men experience trials and tribulations, of adventure and thrill. One constant that Moore carries into the League is Quatermain’s distrust of others. There were several different characters within Haggard’s text that Quatermain had issues with trusting them at first; the same applies for Moore’s graphic novel. One character in The League that he did not trust was Griffin, and for good reason as I will discuss in following posts. In the first volume when Griffin and Mina break from Quatermain and Dr. Jekyll, Quatermain says to Dr. Jekyll, “Hmmmph. Well, there they go. I must say, I’m not taken with that Griffin fellow. I don’t trust her with him” (Moore). Like the typical white male of Britain, Quatermain doesn’t trust individuals that are “different” from him. Griffin is an invisible man and therefore threatens Quatermain in a sense that he is unpredictable.

Quartermain’s feelings towards Mina Murray are quite interesting in that, like a stereotypical viewpoint of women, he finds her to be the most aggravating. One could question whether it is Mina’s attribute or the mere fact that she is leading him and not vice versa. Up until recently, women were subordinate to men and especially during that time period. Because Mina is a complex character and represents independence and balance in a way that Quatermain is not experienced with, he lacks the ability to handle her. In a different discussion with Dr. Jekyll, Quatermain states, “She divorced her husband … Rather a relief for the poor fellow, I imagine … And now she mopes round in that bloody scarf all day. Infuriating woman. Like my first wife in a lot of way…” (Moore). But in vol. II, Quatermain and Mina embark on a more romantic relationship so to speak. It is in these instances thought, that Quatermain represents British identity in dominance and control; however, Moore also uses Quatermain to demonstrate the “has-been” of the British Empire. In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Quatermain is an opium addict and lacks the colonial adventurer that he once was. The fact that he is an opium addict at the beginning shows how Quatermain is no longer the ideal adventurer. Like the British identity, what the government/society feels they should be representing as a nation is no longer applicable.

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Due to the loss of his wife and son, Quatermain also is against colonialism and seeks vengeance based off of his experiences. Moore uses him as an example of how the British ideals falter and change. He thoroughly demonstrates how the British national identity is not perfect and although there is a certain representation of it, it is not necessarily the full truth. Quatermain begins The League as a washed up “has-been” but redeems himself as a hero throughout the graphic novels.

Wilhelmina “Mina” Murray

(Anti)hero

The leader of the group, Mina Murray is the only female member of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  Her first appearance in literature is in Bram Stoker’s Dracula as a young assistant schoolmistress and the fiancée of Jonathan Harker, Dracula’s solicitor.  Mina, being under the curse of Dracula, plays an important role in helping to track down and slay him.

Mina’s importance to The League is as the leader.  She is the first member commissioned by “M” to track down the rest of the team and in doing so Mina becomes the protagonist of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  She does not possess any specific qualities of a hero such as nobility or morality, however she is courageous and disciplined, quick thinking and direct.  Mina is also an orphan which is one of the criteria of an antihero.  She is not portrayed as ever killing anyone, however she is…

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