This month, we look at the latest offering from legendary Scottish comic scribe Grant Morrison: the first issue of the six issue horror/space mini-series, “Nameless.”
Morrison is one of the most famous comic book writers in the world, primarily from his iconic work on venerable franchises like Batman, Superman, New X-Men and the JLA, and off-the-wall takes on the likes of Animal Man and Doom Patrol. He’s also the person behind the sometimes impenetrable likes of The Filth, Flex Mentallo and the The Invisibles. Morrison’s comics are often not an easy ride, and this is certainly the case with the first issue of “Nameless” which sets its stall out by being titled “Shit Rains Down.”
Since this is the first issue of a mini-series, this comic has to fit quite a lot into its slim 24 pages. We’re quickly we are introduced to the titular character, but all we really find out about him is that he is from Glasgow and he had a breakdown thirteen years ago.
He has been hired by (at first) unknown people to retrieve a magical key, which is later explained to open the door to the anti-universe. Eventually, Nameless (the person, not the comic book itself) is recruited by a space scientist to try and prevent a gigantic asteroid from colliding with Earth and destroying the planet. At first glance, then, that seems to be the premise: how will Nameless and his fellow astronauts save the world? However, with Morrison it’s never as simple as that. We’ve also got murder, a hooded mysterious woman, and masked killers terrorizing Glasgow floating around in here somewhere as well.
The artwork by Chris Burnham — Morrison’s collaborator on Batman Inc. — stands with the best he has done in his career. He is a perfect fit for the weird tone which the series takes from the very first panel. The artwork is very unsettling, which is often the hallmark of Morrison’s best work.
The partnership between Morrison and Burnham is starting to get as revered as Morrison’s renowned artistic partner Frank Quietly. Much praise must also be given to Nathan Fairbairn’s colouring, which evoke a deep sense of dread and the feeling that we don’t seem to be on a normal planet Earth.
For newcomers to Morrison — or comic books generally — this is not an easy read. But long-time fans of Morrison will know that he often uses first issues to set the tone and scene for the issues that come after. Definitely a comic book which should be read more than once, which is the sign of a good book.
Nameless #1 is out now.