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I’m halfway through the omnibus for Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, which seems to be like three or four thousand pages long. Google tells me it’s actually 1536 pages, so maybe that says something about the comic right off the bat. After a few days of reading, I feel like I’ve actually read six or seven different books, but it’s still just The Invisibles.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like the book well enough. Grant Morrison is one of my favorite writers, if not the favorite, and this book is very much Morrison. Maybe too much. I’ll get into that later. The point is, it’s an interesting story with intriguing characters. It’s most definitely not a bad or poorly written book.
For those who haven’t heard of it, The Invisibles centers around… a boy… recruited by a group. A part of a resistance force fighting a world-wide conspiracy by space… space gods to control people? The boy is linked to a satellite, but so are we technically. There’s time travel. The Aztecs are involved? The government created HIV too, I guess. Basically, imagine every conspiracy theory lumped together and given acid. That’s what the story’s about.
So as I said, The Invisibles may be Grant Morrison’s most Morison-y work ever. Which, in the end, may be a detriment to it. He’s known for some pretty strange concepts and it’s no secret he’s been a connoisseur of mind altering substances, so I assume this was written during a very trippy time in his life. Perhaps it’s that I’m “binge reading” all the stories together, but reading things like “the nanodemons reprogrammed the local reality’s supergrid matrix” and “somewhere the choir of the Reverse Church unsang narrow beam thought mines backwards into corrupted matter-space” can wear on a guy.
Also, just a side note, the main character: King Mob? Is that… is that based on Morrison, you guys? Did he put himself in the comic? Like a Kilgore Trout, alter ego situation? There’s nothing definite in the book’s writing, nothing that really, really links him. OTHER THAN the fact that he’s a science fiction writer. The reason I ask is, well, you be the judge:
Right? Besides the piercings, they’re spitting images of each other.
ANYWAY! The writing itself, weirdness aside, is fantastic. Even though it’s a dense plot, Morrison is able to strike up effective atmosphere. It’s creepy when it needs to be, cool when it needs to be, and just frickin’ weird most of the time. The strangeness of the world also makes it one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. The only book I think comes close is Planetary, and even then it’s a distant… close. Huh.
The characters are as dimensional as they can be. The nature of the story dictates that their history and motivation remains secret for most of the comic. Their progressions and interactions, however, are well defined. The best aspect, in my mind, is that they’re never really definitely good or evil. Since we don’t know the entire conspiracy, The Invisibles in The Invisibles could easily be the terrorists we’re told they are. None of the members are especially noble or grand. They’re idealists first and foremost.
Would I recommend this to people? Tough question. Again, I’m not all the way through, but I can tell you right now that I would be very selective in who I recommend this to. The core story is just so weird, the setting so unique. I feel like it takes a certain taste to appreciate it. Not that it’s bad, you’re just mainlining pure, uncut Morrison.
All in all, I think The Invisibles is a perfect example of the strengths of the comics medium. This is a story that can’t be told anywhere else. Not in TV and definitely not a movie. Could be a book, I guess. Anyway, what I guess I’m trying to say is that, while its a good book, it may be too niche for its own good.