Mina Murray: Formerly Mina Harker, she re-takes her maiden name following the events of Bram Stoker's Dracula; the reader has only her unsubstantiated word as to why she and her husband divorced. Her red scarf conceals a brutal set of slashing scars very unlike a traditional vampire's bite, because of Dracula's actually bat-like teeth. She was the first member recruited, and unequivocally the leader. Her position was decided by the team's first "M" Professor Moriarty who believed her gender would prevent the men of the group from feeling a "territorial" desire for her position. Instead they all have deep seated misogynistic resentment.
Allan Quatermain: The Great White Hunter from King Solomon's Mines, now an old, ailing opium addict. He doesn't function too well. That is, until he gets rejuvenated. He's much more effective sixty years later.
Dr. Jekyll: Or, more accurately, Mr. Hyde; as some 20 years of time have passed, he grew from his diminutive size as depicted in Robert Louis Stevenson's book into a powerful giant, and the Super Serum was no longer needed to bring him out. He's also a psychopath of the grandest type, and prone to every excess. Both Jekyll and especially Hyde have a soft spot for Mina, who is apparently the only person Hyde never wanted to hurt (this is because she does not hate him for what he is) *.
Hyde is the evil side of Jekyll without any of his good qualities, and every person he meets doesn't know why, but immediately recognizes him as evil. He will never be loved or even accepted—but she has met worse
Hawley Griffin: The title character of The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, a scheming transparent criminal megalomaniac first introduced in League raping teenage girls in a dormitory. (His on-page victim was Pollyanna, who decided not to let being brutalized get her down.)
Captain Nemo: Returning to a depiction introduced in Jules Verne's sequel to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Nemo is a disenfranchised Indian prince, a Sikh, whose mortal enemy is the British Crown. His Nautilus is a newly-constructed replacement that invokes the appearance and functionality of the giant squid atop a giant whale; Technical drawings suggest the sections can separate. His first mate is Ishmael, late of Moby-Dick. One notable crewman is Broad Arrow Jack, the star of an eponymous 1866 "penny dreadful" written by E. Harcourt Burrage.
Later members of the team include Orlando, an immortal man/woman whose gender periodically changes (from Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf), famous gentleman thief A. J. Raffles, and occult investigator Thomas Carnacki.Other notable characters include Professor Moriarty and Mycroft Holmes from the Holmesian canon. (The great detective himself only appears in a Flashback, as he would overshadow the other figures; at the time of the story, he's off faking his death around Europe.) A proposed ancestor to a certain superspy is introduced in the person of Campion Bond: a priggish, rotund, cowardly, sanctimonious schemer with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. His family's got quite the reputation; quite the bad one.The Literary Agent Hypothesis is used as a plot point; the authors of the original stories are depicted as biographers, and the "real" events surrounding the league's members are often far more disturbing than the tales would have us believe. For instance, all the members except Murray are believed dead, having faked their own demises years before.Volume 1 follows the tale of the league's formation, and a battle against the forces of the mysterious "Chinese Doctor" (actually Fu Manchu) and the machinations of Moriarty. In the second volume, the Martian invasion from The War of the Worlds is explored, featuring appearances by Dr. Moreau and John Carter of Mars. The "Black Dossier," an elaborate side-story, features the titular Dossier as a Framing Device for the history of all the different iterations of the League, from the one in Shakespeare's time through to World War II, and brings the references to a truly ridiculous level. The Black Dossier signalled a change in style for the comics; where the initial idea was "Justice League of Victorian England", the ambition evolved into creating a shared universe for all fictional places and characters. All of them.The first part of the third volume, Century was published in 2009, setting up an End of the World as We Know It arc spanning the 20th and early 21st century. In 1910, the League investigates a doomsday cult led by magician Oliver Haddo, while simultaneously dealing with a madman killing prostitutes on the waterfront. New members of the League include psychic detective Thomas Carnacki, who has been having visions of what's to come, high-class cracksmanA.J. Raffles, and League veteran Orlando, as headstrong, omnisexual, and perpetually bored as ever. As this is going on, the dying Captain Nemo's daughter Janni has come to London to escape her father's plan to make her his successor, taking up work at a tavern on the waterfront. And there are musical numbers. Lots of them.The second volume of Century, published July 2011, finds the league back in swinging London in 1969. The team is down to just Orlando, Mina and Allan, but they get a ride from the octogenarian Janni on the Nautilus. They must seek out and stop the cult founded by the late Oliver Haddo and prevent him from using popular musicians for dark purposes.The third and last volume of Century came in June 2012 and sees the League try to pick itself up in a rather dystopian year 2009. The Moonchild, barely sane after being carefully groomed by Haddo in the incarnation he assumed at the end of the previous volume, appears at last, and a final confrontation with the Moonchild is made.In March 2013 a Spin-Off was published, still by Moore and O'Neil. Nemo: Heart of Ice is set in 1925, and features Janni in a race against a team of former Teen Geniuses from the "Edisonades" to a South Pole based on The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket and At the Mountains of Madness.The sheer number of sly references to Victoriana that are found in the pages of League's first two volumes astound many scholars; each page includes subtle and overt Continuity Nods to British literary tradition and culture, everything from Rupert Bear and other classic Talking Animal characters as Moreau's hybrid monsters, to a Cottingley Fairy in a jar of alcohol at the British Museum. On the other hand, they usually take these references in so horrifying a direction that it's sometimes more insulting if you recognize them. The trend continues with more contemporary fiction in the later volumes, often with clever Writing Around Trademarks, as these works aren't public domain.
All There in the Manual: Knowledge of the books of the period (all of them) is very helpful to understanding the subtle goings-on, if not the main plot.
And then there's stuff like the previous leagues, whose activities are chronicled in supplementary stories. You can seriously read a Shakespearean-style play about Prospero and Caliban and their ilk forming the first League, complete with Shakespearean jokes like guards named Mr. Shytte and Mr. Pysse.
Artifact Title: The League was officially disbanded between the events of Century: 1910 and The Black Dossier, whittling the cast of characters down to a Trio of Extraordinary Gentlemen by the final act. Not to mention that the book's original Victorian setting, which the title is meant to evoke, has been out the window since The Black Dossier (which took place in the 1950s), with the last two volumes taking place in the 1960s and the 2000s, respectively.
Author Appeal: The m√nage √ trois between Quatermain, Mina and Orlando.
Alan Moore's fondness for old-time forms of pornography also tends to come through, to the point where later volumes can focus just as much, if not more at times, on the sexual exploits of the characters as much as their adventures. In particular, the first volume features characters and settings from Victorian pornographic journal The Pearl, and Black Dossier gives us, among others, a Jane-style Tijuana Bible from the world of 1984 and the various exploits (in more than one way) of the eighteenth-century League courtesy of Fanny Hill.
Author Avatar: Quatermain in the first two volumes, The Duke Of Milan in the third.
Author Tract: Moore is usually respectful of the fictional characters he appropriates and is fairly faithful to their original representations. In Century: 2009, however, his portrayal of Harry Potter is not only unflattering but also inconsistent with how that character appears in their original source material. Moore makes his opinion of that work of fiction particularly transparent when he has Mary Poppins appear and destroy him, in her role as 'guardian of the world's children and their imaginations'.
His depiction of James Bond (at least, the literary version) isn't exactly flattering either, although it is more faithful to Fleming's original depiction. He does have Allan Quatermain basically point out that he's a very poor showing for the 'British adventure hero' in such a way that clearly suggests that Moore isn't exactly a fan.
His treatment of Harry Potter's assorted characters is at least vaguely justified by the terms of the story and the world Moore and O'Neill have established up until that point. Moore's take on Potter exists in a world where 1984 actually happened, after all.
Badass Grandpa: AugusteDupin is Mina and Allan's liaison in Paris, and despite being in his late 90s if not early 100s, he looks Mr. Hyde straight in the face and blasts his ear off with his pepperbox pistol. Mina is impressed.
Badass Normal: There are technically a few of these, but Mina Murray stands out - a dainty, slightly-built music teacher rubbing shoulders with the likes of Captain Nemo and Edward Hyde!
Badass Santa: In the League universe, Santa is an elderly shaman who lives alone in a hut at the North Pole, uses astral projection to travel around the world spreading good cheer every Christmas, and commands an army of malicious sprites (his "little helpers") as his familiars. He also apparently murdered a few employees of the Coca-Cola company when they tried to buy the rights to his image.
Bechdel Test: In the first volume, set in 1899, Mina is the Token Girl. By the final scene of Century set in 2009 just about all surviving characters are women, or both in the case of Orlando.
Bilingual Bonus: Frequently enough that some of what you read will completely go over your head if you don't speak Arabic or Chinese. For example, in Fu Manchu's lair a man is being tortured by having words written onto his body in molten metal. The Chinese script translates as, "A man who does not know pain is like a book whose pages have not been written."
Peg: Wij hebben ons vrijwillig aangeboden. Zijn geslacht is kolossaal. note
"We have volunteered. His sex is colossal."
Mina: She, um, she says they volunteered because of his personality.
Bi the Way: In Century: 1969, Mina "tortures" a woman for information regarding a cult, and Quatermain and Orlando tend to share a bed regardless of Orlando's current gender.
Body Horror: Plenty of it to go around, but most notable is probably the true form of the Antichrist, as well as the still living severed head of Oliver Haddo in the third chapter of Century and the remains of the victims from the massacre at Hogwarts.
Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The dinner scene in volume two, in which Hyde reveals some of his origins. And that he'd (Disturbing spoiler, highlight to read:) brutally beat and sodomized Griffin to near-death a few minutes previous. (The blood on his clothes, hands, and teeth becomes visible as Griffin finally dies in another room. Which happens to be above them, so that the blood is revealed to be dripping through the ceiling as well.)
Break the Cutie: Nemo's daughter Janni, oh so much. Ironically her gang rape by her employer and the customers of the bar she works in makes her willing to accept the role of Nemo, the very thing she ran away from home to avoid, in order to have her revenge. And she does. By the end of the volume Ishmael reckons she's more of a monster than her father. "Ain't it bleeding wonderful?"
Chekhov's Skill: Hyde's thermal vision. This being Hyde, he's smart enough not to tell Griffin about it, knowing that it might come in handy sometime.
Chekhovs Classroom: Very subtly done. In Century: 1969, Norton mentions Helter Skelter and Holden Caulfield- both fictions that inspired real-life killings. By Century: 2009, Harry Potter has become one, too, inspiring school massacres in America.
Chickification: Mina is a lot more vulnerable in Century: 1969 than we've seen her before. Explained as a result of the strain of being immortal finally starting to catch up with her.
Continuity Nod: To a lot of continuity; its Back Story is a distilled mixture of every book written in the 1880s and 90sever, from Dickens to erotica. And includes a distant ancestor of the Dude from The Big Lebowski.
Eldritch Abomination: The Martians, Lovecraft's own make an appearance. In a Jeeves and Wooster story. As well as in a prequel story concerning Quatermaine's activities just after he faked his death. And lets not forget The Moonchild.
Nyarlathotep himitself makes an appearance as a "respected diplomat" from Yuggoth to the Blazing World.
Nyarlathotep and pals also feature in a William Burroughs style novelette, in which they masquerade as Burrough's Nova Mob (a kind of Mind Virus/ interplanetary crime group/ linguistic terrorist organization. Makes Just as Much Sense in Context)
The first time Oliver Haddo appears on panel in Century: 1910, he blasts Orlando across the room with a magic wand before a word has been uttered.
The first time the Anti-Christ appears as an actual character in Century: 2009, it is a first person perspective of him committing a school massacre. With magic powers. And the school happens to be Hogwarts...
Even Evil Has Standards: While Nemo is a ruthless terrorist vocally committed to killing as many Englishmen as creatively as possible, he draws the line at using poison gas. Or bioweapons.
In a 'sort of' example, Hyde does not appreciate what the Invisible Man has done regarding either Mina or selling everyone out to the Martians... but his response is even worse. Here, it's less because Hyde would never do such a thing (it's suggested he already has, many times), it's because he has some kind of regard for Mina personally.
Less 'evil' more 'amoral', but while Mycroft Holmes usually acts aloof and impartial towards the quite morally questionable things he and the League get up to, he is visibly disgusted and angered when the real Jack the Ripper gets out of a well-deserved hanging when someone else who couldn't have done his crimes confesses to them solely to get the attention.
Evil Counterpart: ...sort of. The League has counterpart organizations working on behalf of the French (Les Hommes Mysterieux) and German (Der Zweilicht Helden) governments. While The League tends to include atleast a few traditional heroes, the closest thing the French have to a hero is Robur the Conqueror and ArsŤne Lupin. The Germans are strictly villains, with such monsters as Dr Mabuse, Dr Caligari and his somnambulist assassin, and Dr Rotwang from Metropolis.
Fan Disservice: Plenty in volume 2. Griffin brutally attacks and humiliates Mina, which is followed by Hyde raping Griffin before killing him, and on the side there's Mina's sex scene. With Allan. Then it got worse. Allan likes Mina's scars. A lot.
Fat Bastard: Campion Bond, Mycroft Holmes, Billy Bunter...
From Nobody to Nightmare: The Famous Five from Greyfriars school. All of them became involved with spy organizations. Harry Wharton became Big Brother, Bob Cherry became Harry Lime (who's also M and Mother, and it's implied that Emma Knight's father designed super spy cars.
Genre Shift: The Black Dossier brings out of the world of Victorian adventure novels into a mid-20th-century spy caper.
Also happens internally at least once per volume, between the main comic narrative and the supplementary materials. These are usually prose of some sort, whether intelligence report, travelogue, or pulp sci-fi, but they can get... bizarre. The Black Dossier, for example, includes sections sections done in the style of an 18th-century satirical broadsheet, an Elizabethan drama, a Beat Novel, and a Tijuana biblebased on1984, among others; Volume Two includes a board game.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: In-universe; Black Dossier features several communications between Mina and Allan and the British authorities during their service. In one of them, Mina writes that the 'Fountain of Youth' the characters were seeking didn't work, Allan has died and that she is currently 'racked with grief', explaining the jerky handwriting on the postcard. Since she also mentions that she has quite by coincidence happened to meet a 'long-lost son of Allan's' which is 'some consolation', and since the volume has made it explicitly clear that Allan and Mina are now forever young and virile, the clear implication behind the rather delicate language is that Mina is actually wracked by Allan and her celebrating their newfound youthfulness together rather ... vigorously.
Guide Dang It: One of the few comics to have (and actually need) a guide. Jess Nevins's incredible guidebooks are essential to understanding all the references for anyone who isn't a professor of Victorian literature.
Hellish Pupils: The "Chinese Doctor" has semi-rectangular goat-like eyes.
Here There Were Dragons: All of the magic and sorcery that populate fairy tales and folklore was real in the League world in one way or another but that magic has been pushed further and further into the background by various forces. The governments of the world have taken it upon themselves to not only keep a tight lid on this fact but also relegate the amazing things that happen in their own time as fiction.
John Munch: His father, Pete, appears as an astronaut in the "Minions of the Moon" backup for Century: 1969. Like his son, he also a conspiracy theorist but this being the world of the League it's possible he's actually right.
Karmic Death: Griffin suffers this. He pisses off Hyde, who as it turns out, can see him despite his invisibility. He then beats and rapes Griffin to death.
Karma Houdini: Arguably, the point of joining the League is to become one via the reward of amnesty (ex. Hyde, Griffin, Jekyll, Raffles, Nemo). Most don't make it though. Mack the Knife of Volume Three is a far more straight example. He even sings about it near the end.
Also, the kids at the festival in 1969? Well, Fridge Logic dictates that they'd be the right age to have lost parents to Big Brother's Culture Police, and a few must have denounced their parents...
Kick the Dog: Nemo's crew is initially introduced as a group of loyal subordinates who simply follow the man's orders, no matter the morality behind them. In the third book, they not only reveal to have a taste for piracy and murder, but brutally attack London's docks in maniacal glee.
Janni Nemo as well. Even bruised after being brutally assaulted and even surrounded by the dead and dying as vicious pirates go about the business of an honest day's slaughter, she still looks graceful and beautiful.
Lampshade Hanging: The New Traveler's Almanac does this in regards to the shocking amount of shipwrecked Englishmen involved in discovering previously uncharted isles.
Century 2009 has an occult school that can only be accessed by taking a train from a hidden platform at Kings Cross Station. The Antichrist was raised there with a certain distinctive mark on his forehead.
Literary Agent Hypothesis: All stories are true, we just know them as stories because someone else wrote them down and the truth became distorted. In The Black Dossier we learn that the Big Brother government had a fiction department set up to turn a lot of their cases and biographies into entertainment in order to discredit them.
Legacy Character: With a bit of Generation Xerox: Macheath from The Threepenny Opera is apparently descended from the Macheath of The Beggar's Opera. Also, Jack Kerouac's characters Doctor Sax and Dean Moriarty are the descendants of Fu Manchu and Prof. James Moriarty respectively. Its also revealed in Century that James Bond is a title assigned to different agents of British Intelligence, with two specific agents refered to as J3 and J6 looking an awful lot like Roger Moore and Daniel Craig.
The Load: Randolph Carter to his teammates in the story Allan and the Sundered Veil, much to his great-uncle John's dismay.
Mind Screw: It starts with the back-up story in Volume One, but the series really gets trippy with The Black Dossier and Century: 1969.
The journey in Nemo: Heart of Ice has pretty trippy elements which is justified since the crew of the Nautilus are heading towards the Mountains of Madnessthough it's also much more straightforward than Century.
Mirror Chemistry: In a text feature in Vol. 2, it is revealed that Alice emerged from the Looking Glass world with her entire body mirror-reversed. As a result, she was unable to eat normal food, and ultimately starved to death.
The Mole: Griffin allied with the Martians during their invasion.
Mood Whiplash: The Boy's Own Adventure tone of the narrator's text boxes is hilarious, but within two pages of a Gorn scene of a semi-likeable female character being beaten to the point of passing out with a splat in a pool of her own vomit, the whiplash spoils the humor.
Musical Episode: The first issue of volume three, believe it or not. Features a dockside whore narrating Janni's story with a rendition of "Pirate Jenny" and no less than three musical numbers by Jack the Ripper/MacHeath.
This is clearly a trend for the volume, as there are even more songs in Century: 1969.
Musical World Hypothesis: Briefly touched on in one section of "The New Traveller's Almanac", where we learn that the events of Lewis Carroll's poem The Hunting of the Snark were just an extended hallucination by Dr. Eric Bellman, a psychiatrist who went insane after trying to lead an expedition to Wonderland. The dialogue in that poem (arranged in verse) is said to be a side-effect of Bellman's madness, which left him incapable of speaking in coherent prose.
My Grandson Myself: Allan Quartermain, Junior. Mycroft Holmes sees right through it, naturally.
Humorously, virtually everyone else who caught wind of both "Allan Quartermain, Jr." and the search for Ayesha's Fire of Eternal Life failed to make the connection spectacularly despite the transparency of the lie.
Nailed To The Wagon: Allan was locked in his cabin to purge the opium from his system, though his addiction would last another issue. Cruelly, his cabin was aboard the Nautilus, so only half of what he saw were hallucinations.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Happens at least once in every volume, but especially Century where Carnacki's visions of the apocalypse inspire the instigator of Apocalypse to plan accordingly.
No Name Given: Nemo is Latin for "no one", his true name is never revealed. In Verne'sThe Mysterious Island, his name was given as Dakkar (Anglicized version of Thakkoor), which was used as a title by some rulers of princely states. It could be a last name, a first name, or just a title.
One Steve Limit: Averted. When Lieutenant Gullivar Jones appeared at the beginning of Volume 2 as John Carter's ally, a few readers were confused by his name and assumed that he was supposed to be Lemuel Gulliver. In fact, Lemuel Gulliver actually is an important (albeit unseen) character in the League universe note He was the leader of a previous incarnation of the League that formed in the 1700s, and Gullivar Jones is another character from a fairly obscure book called Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation.
Only You Can Repopulate My Race: a main plot in the "Minions of the Moon" story; the Lunar Amazons need a man since all the men in their colony were killed off by some disease, threatening their race with extinction.
Parody Commercial: As extras in each issue, along the lines of "Our cigarettes will cure asthma!"
Pet the Dog: Hyde, otherwise portrayed as a cheerful villain, receives one in Volume Two when he has a heart-to-heart with Mina. As with most things in the series, comes complete with a literary allusion.
Hyde: ...of all the people I've met, you are the only one that does not hate me. You've met worse than me, haven't you?
Spiritual Successor: Before The Black Dossier and Century moved the LOEG world into the 20th century, there was Albion by Moore, his daughter Leah and her husband John Reppon, which was basically League for 1970s UK comics.
In Black Dossier, the XL series of rockets are named for the fate suffered by the previous incarnation; the one used by Allan and Mina is named "Pancake". At the end of their adventure, it explodes. Its successor, naturally, is the Fireball XL5.
Steampunk: Fancy whiz-bang devices everywhere! — in the first two volumes and Century: 1910 at least.
The Black Dossier has several segments that could probably be better labeled Raygun Gothic.
Take That: The Black Dossier has several. The X-L series of spacecraft are named for an abbreviation of extra-large and it's noted by Mina they could only ever be American because "who else would think that 'extra' starts with an 'X'?" This is in all likelihood a partial dig at the movie, which abbreviated its title as "LXG".
Also, James Bond's grandpa was a perverted little coward. Bond himself appears in The Black Dossier, and he seems to have retained his ancestor's qualities as, two pages into his appearance, he tries to rape Mina. She beats him up, and when Allan shows up, he knocks Bond's pansy ass to the ground, kicks him in the 'nads and mocks him. Further, the Bond in this version is specifically stated to be one who defeated Dr. No - the version played by Sean Connery, who also portrayed Quatermain's character in the movie. And then Moore proceeds to take this Up to Eleven in the climax, in which it is revealed that there never even was a Dr. No in the first place, Bond had betrayed England to the U.S, and murdered one of MI5's own agents. By Century: 2009, while "James Bond" has become a Legacy Character handed down to different agents in succession (all the Bond actors from Connery to Craig appear), the original Bond is bedridden and ravaged by syphilis and other diseases.
A slightly gentler one is directed at "a maker of phosphate drinks" (Coca Cola). The polar bears from their commercials show up in one of the Almanacs, as well as Santa Claus who accidentally killed a representative from the company.
In Century: 2009, Moore's portrayal of the Harry Potter world is less than flattering. Of the Hogwarts Express, he has Andrew Norton declare: "it runs on sloppily-defined magic principles".
They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Inverted — Ishmael prefers Nemo to call him by his first name, rather than "Mr. Mate". On his deathbed, he does. Janni calls him "Mr. Mate", but he lets it slide.
Those Wacky Nazis: Acording to The Black Dossier, in the LOEG universe, Hitler is replaced by Adenoid Hynkel from (get ready for this)... the 1940 anti-Nazi film The Great Dictator starring Charlie Chaplin; thus ensuring that the same type of facial hair is hated in both worlds.
Unreliable Narrator: Orlando, mainly because s/he has been around so long s/he can't remember which historical battles s/he was and wasn't present at.
Word Of God also says that s/he is a pathological liar.
Verbal Tic: Griffin has a memorable low chuckle, typically spelled out "Aheheh", with which he punctuates his sentences. It is often also used to inform the reader that Griffin is in a panel (as he is invisible).
Villain Song: Jack the Ripper himself gets two in the third volume, one about how little things have changed since his killing spree, the other deriding the ruling class and the law for creating a world where people like him exist. He may be a nutter but he can carry a tune.
What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Mina and Allan set alongside the original Victorian League are underwhelming. Much of Mina's second League suffer from this and are relegated to defending themselves with pistols and swords.
What Could Have Been: At one point Simon Bisley was considered for regular art duties on the book. It boggles the mind...
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Initally averted; while the consequences of Orlando's immortality are delved into, it's never a cause for Wangst and s/he certainly has fun. Likewise, Mina and Allan's biggest problem with immortality so far is keeping sex interesting. But Mina has more difficulties in Century.