ro_se12's review

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adventurous dark mysterious tense medium-paced


crowyhead's review

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As the final(?) showdown between the Invisbles and the forces of evil careens ever closer, the pressure mounts. King Mob is beginning to feel the weight of the body count, and to wonder about the consequences of being a murderer for the forces of good. Ragged Robin, who is now leading this cell of Invisibles, is revealed to be a time-traveller from the not-so-distant future, sent back to make sure that time travel is invented. And a powerful tool, the Hand of Glory, must be recovered. Even upon re-reading it, this volume is kind of confusing; I need to re-read the whole "Boy is brainwashed" section because I still don't feel like I quite get it.

thecommonswings's review

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Just brilliant, repaying careful attention to previous issues and still feeling like the most coherent of all Morrison’s big idea stuff. There’s more of a structure to it and more of a sense of pace, frequently building to some genuinely brilliant ideas. Of course not all these ideas are original, but Morrison has never been afraid to borrow/ steal from the best: a great deal of the plot now feels it relies from a reading of Tony Burgess’ Pontypool Changes Everything but just taking the ideas in different directions. I think this might rival Zenith as the best thing he’s ever done

the_graylien's review

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Here we are: the fifth graphic novel of the series and the second foray into Volume Two of the series. This book keeps up the "blockbuster" feel of the second volume while almost completely morphing back into Volume One of the series in the "Sensitive Criminals" story arc (issues 8-10).

The ultra-violent scenes and explicit (but tastefully drawn) sex which have become hallmarks of Volume Two continue to permeate this book. There's even some double agent action in this one as we see one of the members of this cell of The Invisibles go rogue, but there is still enough focus on things like Jazz music and the 1920's, the Invisible College (in which we see members Jim Morrison, Sid Vicious and his murdered girlfriend Nancy Spungen, and Bootsy Collins), a theory as to the true nature of the universe, and the mention of REX84 (again) to make this the series that continues to quicken our brains as well as our pulses.

Phil Jimenez unfortunately left the series after this book, but shows some spectacular artwork within.

"Counting to None" continues the "The Invisibles" as not just a work of fiction, but an experience you'll never have anywhere else.

*-This paperback also includes the story "And We're All Policemen" from Vertigo's "Winter's Edge" (1998) which sort of takes King Mob out of the context of Invisibles and takes place chronologically after the entire series. Helpful, because now you don't have to seek out the Winter's Edge trade if you want this story (which you do).

jgkeely's review

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I would enjoy Neal Gaiman more if he were a madman. Unfortunately, unless he starts making bookplates in the Blakean style, I don't think this will ever be remedied. He is a competent writer, and interesting, but rarely pushes the limits. Perhaps this shows that he is wise enough to recognize his own limitations, which is more than I can say for Morrison, especially in 'The Invisibles'.

Morrison never fails to push the boundaries, but this only makes it more and more apparent that he is not a visionary writer. Though he is an avid reader and draws from many eccentric sources, he never seems capable of combining them into something greater than the scattered parts.

Without a greater philosophical cosmology to tie things together, he ends up writing in a hodge-podge which has impressive breadth, but negligable depth. There are little spots now and again which go up to your calf, but the next step always lands on the careless sandbar of Morrison's ego.

The only thing that does connect all the disparate elements is the plot, but that isn't saying much. Morrison wasn't blessed with Alan Moore's ability to make a driving plot out of the bizarre, and Morrison's penchant for writing six titles a month certainly doesn't help anything.

Again, it is a matter of overextension. I am lucky enough to have more than a passing familiarity with a few of the mythologies he references. Unfortunately, this means that I can see the holes in his plots and references. Those with greater experience must find it even more disjointed.

However, for those with much less experience, the text seems revolutionary, since the facade covers much of the bare scaffolding. If you didn't know that he was scraping this all together week to week, you might wonder if the mistakes and confusion was just you 'not getting it'; in such straits, many readers fall back on a cautious sense of awe, not wanting to admit that they don't get it.

His King Mob character is set up to be the cool anti-hero, but since Morrison already finds his character to be interesting and sympathetic, he forgets to convince the reader of this fact. It should be unsurprising that Grant likes his character, since he's writing an author surrogate.

He can never seem to keep himself out of his comics, which is another symptom of his big ego. It was a half-hearted trick when he played it in Animal Man, but making a Gary Stu secret agent with an active sex life is even more cringe-worthy. It might not be so obvious if he didn't mention that 'he's still single!' in every other letters column.

It's been pointed out before that there are striking similarities between King Mob and Spider from Warren Ellis' 'Transmetropolitan'. They are both violent, outspoken anti heroes who look like Captain Picard in sunglasses with body mods.

The comparison favors Spider, who is a strong, entertaining, sympathetic character. This is despite the fact that he never eschews his spiteful take-no-prisoners exterior. Ellis manages to write an outspoken writer character who isn't just a mouthpiece for the author, for which he should win some sort of prize. Meanwhile, Morrison can't separate his authorial voice from a secret agent wizard.

Morrison also adds another protagonist to appeal to the kiddies, namely a troubled teen right out of the monomyth. Like every other monomyth hero, this character is rather empty, serving merely as a central focus for the frenetic action. Knowing Morrison, he's probably another author surrogate of how Grant imagines himself as a child.

Morrison does write interesting turns now and again, though the more he explicates, the less clever he becomes. I keep feeling like I'm going to be forced to rate this book lower, but something generally comes along and saves it.

As it is, I wish that it was more like some of Morrison's other work. He's at his best when he's not investing his ego in the outcome. His one-offs and fun little forays are great, but he takes his magni opera too seriously for them to succeed. Like Neal Stephenson, he's throwing everything he can in there to see what sticks. In the end, he's spending too much time on the peripherals, and not enough on the story and the characters.

My Suggested Readings in Comics

ipacho's review

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The Hand of Glory storyarc was full of nasty and good surprises, while pushing forward some of the Invisibles' backstory. Morrison's writing is clearer from previous issues, without leaving behind the powerful ideas from all the occult and conspiracy theory range.