Grant Morrison’s “The Invisibles” — The Impossible Review

After reading it three or four times (honestly, I can’t remember) and after taking physical, spiritual, and psychological damage (it’s unavoidable, it’s written this way), I decided to review the most obscure, less know comics series/graphic novel (if read and collected properly) of the turn of the millennium: THE INVISIBLES by the one and only Grant Morrison.

My experience with graphic novels started somewhere around 20 years ago with the classics — or the so-called classics: The Dark Knight Returns, V For Vendetta, Watchmen, The Killing Joke, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on a Serious Earth. All have something in common but the latter: they are written by Alan Moore. Arkham Asylum was written by Grant Morrison. After a long and intriguing growing-up process, where letting go of mainstream pop culture played a major part (F*ck you, Disney! F*ck you, WB!), on a whim I decided to read what stood for the inspiration of the Matrix movies (as a fourth one was being streamed online in the last weeks of the pandemic): Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles. The parallels were uncanny; the Wachowskis seemed to be cheap hacks, copying a work of art, and shrinking it mercilessly to fit the size of the silver screen. From a certain point of view, it is true; but The Matrix was the only way The Invisibles could be oversimplified and made available to the masses.

Esoteric? Yes! Occult? Of course! Most part of it, understandable only to the initiates, be they freemasons, thelemites, self-proclaimed wizards of ancient pagan rites, etc.? Definitely. But most of all, Morrison’s words themselves stand true to the ancient tradition: if one reads The Invisibles, one becomes an Invisible themselves.

So, what’s it all about? To put it simply, the age-old story of the war between freedom and enslavement, anarchy and dictatorship, liberty and totalitarianism, or none of the above. The Invisibles are everywhere and nowhere, all and none, fictional group of anarchists or a tradition passed on from the depths of history under different names: Gnostics, Templars, Assassins, Rosicrucians, Illuminates, Freemasons, Anti-freemasons, Thelemites, Communists, or, obviously, none of the above. Misguided writer/rock stars geniuses, sexy-as-fuck transvestite witches, loony girls from the not-so-distant-future or NYPD cops, The Invisibles are slices of Morrison’s twisted view of his contemporaneity, an age where everything not only was possible, but it had to be possible, for humanity to survive. The end was nigh, and it could at least be postponed; the pandemic came in 2020, not as he predicted it (2010); therefore, the Maya apocalypse of 2012 might have been adjourned for 2022. Who knows?

No capes, no tights, no bullshit; the only real continuator of William S. Burroughs’ tradition, Morrison takes a piss on mainstream culture and what I could — and even did — become in the past 30 years. His heroes are fallible, and even more than that, they deliberately fail; and then, every pretentious prick trying to promote his authentic deconstruction of the superhero genre is just a pale shadow of what Morrison’s twisted mind conceived and predicted, without warning, all those years ago. Homelander, jerking off on the Empire State Building? That’s Mason Land taking a piss from the rooftop of the Empire State Building. Morpheus? That’s just a black King Mob; they even made fun of that, when Boy had her head shaved (don’t try to make any sense of this, you won’t).

And things get even weirder; inside the novel, there’s a book called The Invisibles; someone reads it and writes herself in the book, before meeting the actual Invisibles and travelling back in time and take part in the events depicted in the original book. So, there’s a book within a book within a book. And anyone who reads The Invisibles becomes an Invisible.

Get it? It’s all messed up, but the fun part is, just as much as Alan Moore (but way more interesting), Morrison predicted the derailments of modern politics and modern society. He predicted everything going to hell, only to be purified by the inevitable apocalypse — the end of everything that is and the beginning of everything that could be.

“The real war is between jazz and rock’n’roll”, as one character put it during the Cuban Missile Crisis — the only true dilemma is choosing sides. Will the future be an eternal Rio Carnival, or an eternal Birkenau? Which side are you on?

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