If Ian Fleming and George Orwell had collaborated on a comic book

When graphic novelist Alan Moore, the elusive genius behind Watchmen and V for Vendetta, resurfaces these days, it’s usually to add another chapter to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, his series about a crime-fighting team composed of characters from Victorian-era literature: Allan Quatermain, the Invisible Man, Captain Nemo. In Black Dossier (out 11/14), he ups the ante further, imagining a 1950s-era Britain where fictional spies and suspicious figures like James Bond, Emma Peel, and Harry Lime all coexist — though their interests don’t necessarily coincide.

Much of Black Dossier is told through sequential panels and word balloons — except for the interludes of typeset text: secret government files, personal memoirs, even the first scene of a suppressed play by William Shakespeare. (Don’t worry — there’s plenty of violence, nudity, and naughty words, too, and the last chapter is in
3-D.) The more text you’re willing to read, the more the story reveals, and the more English literature you already know — from Orlando to 1984 — the more surprises Black Dossier has in store for you.

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