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Book Review < Back

The Invisibles:
Bloody Hell in America (vol. 4)

Credits: Written by Grant Morrison and Illustrated by Phil Jimenez and John Stokes
Publisher: Vertigo (DC)

BLOODY HELL IN AMERICA is the first of three books that comprise The Invisibles, Volume 2.

Commentary

Volume 2 of THE INVISIBLES gives the world Grant Morrison doing a very smart dumbing-down of his masterwork. Shifting the book's location from the UK to America, he turns his back on the decidedly British flavor of the first volume and, like his imprint-mate Garth Ennis, inflicts his ideas on all things American, allowing the two to intermix and have weird mutant babies. Hyper-violent, hyper-sexed, and somehow more hyper-real (perhaps the gorgeous illustrations of Phil Jimenez helps that along), INVISIBLES: BLOODY HELL IN AMERICA is like a strange, aggressive remix of a familiar, lilting song.

With a Ray Davies quote, the book opens with King Mob's Invisibles terrorist cell taking some much-needed R&R stateside. Fucking and fucking around with equal intensity, BLOODY HELL IN AMERICA finds the team invading a lost US Military facility in the high desert, on a quest to liberate the AIDS vaccine, kept there under lock and key. Of course, they find more than they bargained for, and shoot a whole lot of guys in the face in the process.

If INVISIBLES volume 1 was comics, INVISIBLES volume 2 is film. From characters discussing the overt meaning and hidden messages in pop culture to Jimenez drawing panels like Muybridge photographs, Morrison takes the Pulp Fiction/Preacher vibe from late-nineties media and asks how is it we can be fascinated by bloodshed as entertainment, yet repulsed and terrified of dying, all within the greater structure of INVISIBLES as a whole. The result is a book many find more accessible than Volume 1, which is exactly the kind paradox Morrison allows to inform this work. Fascinating.

-- Matt Fraction

 
Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.

 


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