The Invisibles: Bloody Hell in America

June 20, 2008

Slim Volume 4 is the weakest link in this otherwise sensational and often shocking series. Phil Jimenez’s outstanding artwork aside, there is really very little novelty to go gaga over here: believe me.

What, after all, do you do when you don’t intend to accomplish anything more than mindless space-filling? You throw in gratuitous sex: so we begin with our Invisibles cell chilling in America after its last traumatic mission at the heart of the Empire, and very soon King Mob and Ragged Robin are bored and bonking. And they go on and on, right onto the collection cover. You lay out the cheap gags, which must definitely involve a scene with a transvestite in the toilet.

You introduce more new but not terribly interesting characters: Mason Lang may be a millionaire who went Invisible after an alien abduction, but he talks like he spent a month in a geek dormitary because he gushes for pages about patterns in films like Pulp Fiction and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Jolly Roger, from a recently decimated American cell, is a one-eyed black-clad lesbian commando. Her team went out 3 pages in with the famous last words “We’ll cover you from here, baby!”

Then, you have a new bad guy in the form of a US general (oooh, scaary!) who holds the key to the AIDS virus — because his operation introduced it in the first place. And he happens to be an alien: surprised yet? This adventure starts with a lot of sneaking around and ends with a lot of blood and corpses. It finishes so quickly that, if you still remember that whole all-out saga with Sir Miles, you’re left wondering: that’s all for extraterrestrial takeover in America? This is the Archons’ outpost in the control centre of 20th-century cultural imperialism? Aren’t the Archons supposed to be super-smart? Where’s Michael Jackson or Donald Trump or Arnold Schwarzenegger?

What’s going on, Grant Morrison? 1 minute, as Invisibles reader, I feel like I’m the smartest guy in 10 galaxies, and, the next, I get this: I feel like the complete idiot who’s being laughed at by another complete idiot. Is it that much to ask for an Invisibles psychic training to have a better thought-through philosophy than trash Zen mumbo-jumbo like “Is this a chair or is this a chair?” or “Know that there is no ‘I am’ because nothing ‘is'”? Well, thank you, master, for teaching me absolutely “nothing”.

And here’s the other gnarling bit: this storyline is set 1 year after the events of the last volume, right? So King Mob and his team get a year-long all-expenses-paid holiday in the US for enduring 1 day of torture by the enemy? I thought that these were the good guys! Unless the point is… oooh, I see… 

Gweek gives this volume 6 whacks with an invisible nunchaku.


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