(W) Grant Morrison, (A) Chris Burnham, Nathan Fairbairn
NAMELESS tells the story of a down-at-heel occult hustler known only as “Nameless” who is recruited by a consortium of billionaire futurists as part of a desperate mission to save the world. When Nameless and his teammates inadvertently unleash a malignant soul-destroying intelligence, the stage is set for a nightmarish, nihilistic journey to the outer reaches of human terror. Collects NAMELESS #1-6.
This new, complete edition of Nameless collects all six original issues and a ton of alternate cover art into one convenient, slightly cheaper book. It’s a no-brainer if you were into the series and missed an issue, or if you just want to check out Morrison’s latest, no matter what. But I’ll be blunt about this, I can’t really see what’s in it for almost anyone else.
It’s a nice book to have if you’re into the grotesque art. There’s plenty of well drawn images of horror and torture and weird occult oddities that are meant to send chills down your spine. It’s all well drawn, detailed, colorful, etc… No complaints about the art.
But the story is hard to digest. It’s something like a dream within a vision within images sent to torment you by an evil supernatural entity, in a freaky alternate reality in which you don’t really belong. It’s hard to tell from minute to minute which of these layers is the real story, which has already happened, and which is a psychic warning from the future, and it’s even harder to make sense of it all.
Perhaps even worse though, there just isn’t much pay off to do so. It’s a lot of mythological gibberish with some terror elements along for the ride, and very little in the way of story or character to get behind. I’ll be the first to admit that maybe I just don’t get it, but I don’t feel there’s much to get, either. If a story is just too deep for me, that’s fine, and it’s on me. But there’s not really much of a story here at all. Some things happen, then we find out there weren’t real. Other things happen, and we find out they weren’t real and won’t happen for another ten years, maybe. And worst of all, at the end, someone jumps out from nowhere and changes everything with no foreshadowing, hardly any explanation how or why, and absolutely no engagement with the reader. It feels a bit like I was just being distracted while someone else was reading the real comic. Not a fan of that…
But still, some people will call this a masterpiece, so maybe it’s just me. I wasn’t scared, because I didn’t care. I wasn’t involved, because I couldn’t even tell you what really happened and what was just a big ol’ mindscrew. Nameless was fun enough to read, and the images sure are cool, but it’s a bit too much… or too little, to get me to give a damn. There’s much better ways to spend your comic dollar these days, unless you’re just hardcore into alien horror.