Upon reading Nameless you may feel a slight tickling sensation at the back of your head. Don’t scratch, it’s not an itch—not a physical one, anyway—but it is a reminder that there are things about the world that science has yet to adequately address.
Was that profound enough? I was going for Rod Serling…
Immediately after reading Grant Morrison’s new sci-fi/occult fantasy/horror book, I grabbed a slice of lemon pound cake and started thinking. As the tart pastry melted in my mouth it became apparent to me that I’d have to read this entire series, there was just no two ways about it. The first issue left me both confused and intrigued. I now need to find out what happens to our lead character, Nameless, and the rest of the world, as a mysterious asteroid hurtles toward the planet.
I’ll be honest, for the first 10 pages I had less than no idea what was going on. Lizard people, random homicides, Xibalba, and a sinister and veiled,eh, woman all make appearances. I think that was a woman. At any rate, eventually things came into focus and I was able to piece everything together more or less.
Morrison has infused this comic with all manner of occult references, from Kabbalah magick and lucid dreaming to what may in fact be overt allusions to the Dogon and their Nommo twin deities. Very puzzling stuff, but that’s just the sort of fiction that I like. The books that leave indelible images in your mind long after you’ve put them down are usually trying to convey something to readers that takes time to unfold.
While the story is interesting enough, it’s how it works together with the art that really makes things gel. The book explores some serious themes, but like The Humans or The Manhattan Projects that’s offset at times by the apparent silliness of the illustrations. At other times the panels carry a gravitas that is nothing short of intimidating. There are things in Nameless that seem to speak to innate parts of human consciousness and sometimes those things aren’t so friendly or inviting.
I have little doubt that this book won’t appeal to everybody, and that’s perfectly fine. Those that it does appeal to will absolutely be dedicated enough to decipher the cryptic symbolism and hang with the book through its run. So, if you found this issue a little hard to digest, have no fear; or have a healthy amount of fear. Whatever. I’m going to keep reading and I suggest you do likewise.