"Beyond Spider-Man" aims to point die-hard Spidey fans at a few other bits and pieces that they might also want to check out... that includes books, movies, other worthy current titles, and let's not forget all those milestone comic book tales that have helped define our beloved genre. Regarding this last point, let's twist the clock back a few years and mention the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
You've probably all heard of this Alan Moore work, since it was recently made into a big-budget movie starring lots of big names. Sadly, despite the amount of dosh ploughed into the film, most critics seem to agree that the film totally failed to live up to the promise of the highly original comics that first postulated that exceptional collection of Victorian notables.
This particular TPB reprints the six issues that formed the first volume of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen". Six issues isn't a lot in these days where Spidey himself turns up in at least that number of comics each month... but in this case, those six issues manage to pack a fair whack of invention and entertainment into such a short series.
With "The League", Alan Moore manages to combine modern writing pace and technique with some of literature's most famous icons, bundle it up with action, interest, and a healthy dose of twisted temporal references, while tying the whole package up with a humour that is tongue-in-cheek without becoming self-indulgent.
Basically, this little tale punches way above its weight in the entertainment stakes. Sure, it certainly raises the bar in terms of story-telling mastery for the comic genre, but it never forgets that it's true raison d'etre is to spin a ripping yarn worth of the best Boy's Own annual tradition. I guess what I'm trying to say with all these ten-dollar words is that The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is bloody good fun on at least three different levels.
If you enjoy good comic storytelling and epic adventure, and also appreciate a writer who knows a bit about his subject matter, then just hop onto Amazon and grab yourself a copy of this worthy TPB. And for goodness sake, if you saw the movie and didn't like it, please don't be put off. Just trust me when I tell you that there's a huge gulf between the comic book and the film.
Next Month: More Moore: specifically... "The Watchmen".