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The Invisibles

The Invisibles is a mature readers comic book series that was published by the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics from 1994 to 2000. It was created and scripted by Scottish writer Grant Morrison, and drawn by various artists throughout its publication.

The plot follows (more or less) a single cell of The Invisible College, a secret organization battling against physical and psychic oppression using time travel, magic, meditation, and physical violence.

For most of the series, the team includes leader King Mob; Lord Fanny, a Brazilian transgendered shaman; Boy, a former member of the NYPD; Ragged Robin, a telepath with a mysterious past; and Jack Frost, a young hooligan from Liverpool who may be the next Buddha. Their enemies are the Archons of Outer Church, interdimensional alien gods who have already enslaved most of the human race without its knowledge.

History

The Invisibles was Morrison's first major creator-owned title for DC Comics and it drew from his Zenith strip as well as 1990s conspiracy culture. His intent was to create a hypersigil to jump-start the culture in a more positive direction.

The title initially sold well but sales dipped sharply during the first series, leading to concerns that the series may be canceled outright. To counteract this, Morrison suggested a "wankathon" in the hope of bringing about a magical increase in sales by a mass of fans simultaneously masturbating at a set time.

Morrison became seriously ill whilst writing the book, something he attributes to working on the title and the manner in which its magical influence affected him, and has stated that his work on the comic made him into a different person from the one who started it. He has also said that much of the story was told to him by aliens when he was abducted during a trip to Katmandu. He has since characterized the alien abduction in Katmandu as a psychological experience, one that actually had nothing to do with aliens or abduction.

The third and final series was meant to be a countdown to the new millennium but shipping delays meant the final issue did not appear until April 2000. All of the series have been collected in a set of trade paperbacks.

Morrison saw the series censored due to the publisher's concern over the possibility of paedophilic and child abuse content. The first such case was in volume one, issue 7 ("Arcadia part 3 : 120 Days Of Sod All"); dialogue was altered in one scene where a group rapes and degrades several nameless characters, and the term lost souls was used to ensure the characters could not be identified as children, as intended by Morrison. Later in the series the names of people and organizations were simply blacked out, much to Morrison's dismay. DC had one line that originally read "Walt Disney was a shit" blacked out at the suggestions of their lawyers; many of these examples of censorship were restored when reprinted in trade paperback.

The title was optioned to be made into a television series by BBC Scotland, but neither this nor an optioned film version have been made. Morrison wrote The Filth for Vertigo in 2002, which he describes as a companion piece to The Invisibles, though there is no other connection between the two titles.

Volume One

# Cover Date Story Title Writer/s Artist/s Letterer/s Colourist/s Editor/s Comments
1 Dead Beatles Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell Collected together as "The Invisibles: Volume 1 - Say You Want A Revolution"
2 Down and Out In Heaven And Hell: Part 1 Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
3 Down and Out In Heaven And Hell: Part 2 Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
4 Down and Out In Heaven And Hell: Part 3 Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
5 Arcadia: Part 1 - Bloody Poetry Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
6 Arcadia: Part 2 - Mysteries of the Guillotine Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
7 Arcadia: Part 3 - 120 Days of Sod All Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
8 Arcadia: Part 4 - H.E.A.D. Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
9 23 Things Fall Apart Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell Collected together as "The Invisibles: Volume 2 - Apocalipstick"
10 Season of Ghouls Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
11 Royal Monster Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
12 Best Man Fall Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
13 She-Man: Part 1 - Venus As A Boy Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
14 She-Man: Part 2 - Day of Nine Dogs Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
15 She-Man: Part 3 - Apocalipstick Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
16 London Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
17 Gideon Stargrave in Entropy In The UK: Part 1 - Dandy Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell Collected together as "The Invisibles: Volume 3 - Entropy in the U.K."
18 Gideon Stargrave in Entropy In The UK: Part 2 - Messiah Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
19 King Mob in Entropy In The UK: Part 3 - Assassin Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
20 How I Became Invisible Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
21 Liverpool Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
22 House of Fun Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
23 The Last Temptation of Jack Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
24 Good-bye Baby Rabbits Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
25 And Half A Dozen of The Other Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell

Volume Two

# Cover Date Story Title Writer/s Artist/s Letterer/s Colourist/s Editor/s Comments
1 Black Science: Part 1 - Bangin' Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell Collected together as "The Invisibles: Volume 4 - Bloody Hell in America"
2 Black Science: Part 2 - Kickin' Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
3 Black Science: Part 3 - Sorted Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
4 Black Science: Part 4 - Safe Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
5 Time Machine Go Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell Collected together as "The Invisibles: Volume 5 - Counting to None"
6 The Girl Most Likely To Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
7 The Sound of the Atom Splitting Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
8 Sensitive Criminal: Part 1 - Poor Little Rich Girl Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
9 Sensitive Criminal: Part 2 - Mad Dogs and Englishmen Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
10 Sensitive Criminal: Part 3 - Parisian Pierrot Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
11 American Death Camp: Part 1 - Counting to None Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
12 American Death Camp: Part 2 - Counting to Five Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
13 American Death Camp: Part 3 - Counting to Ten Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
14 Only Lovers Left Alive Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell Collected together as "The Invisibles: Volume 6 - Kissing Mister Quimper"
15 The Philadealphia Experiment Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
16 Scorpio Rising Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
17 Black Science 2: Part 1 - Newton's Sleep Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
18 Black Science 2: Part 2 - Einstein's Monsters Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
19 Black Science 2: Part 3 - Pavlov's Dogs Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
20 Black Science 2: Part 4 - Schrodinger's Cats Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
21 All Tomorrow's Parties Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
22 The Tower Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell

Volume Three

# Cover Date Story Title Writer/s Artist/s Letterer/s Colourist/s Editor/s Comments
12 Satanstorm: Part 1 - Common People Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell Collected together as "The Invisibles: Volume 7 - The Invisible Kingdom"
11 Satanstorm: Part 2 - Cold Britannia Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
10 Satanstorm: Part 3 - The "It" Girls Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
9 Satanstorm: Part 4 - Digging Up Beryl Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
8 Karmageddon: Part 1 - Tantrika Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
7 Karmageddon: Part 2 - Type Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
6 Karmageddon: Part 3 - Minus Six Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
5 Karmageddon: Part 4 - Smile Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
4 The Invisible Kingdom: Part 1 - Planet Stepford Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
3 The Invisible Kingdom: Part 2 - Goodbye Rag Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
2 The Invisible Kingdom: Part 3 - The Moment of the Blitz Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell
1 Glitterdammerung! Grant Morrison Steve Yeowell

Plot summary

Say You Want a Revolution

The first volume of The Invisibles opens with a look into the life of Dane McGowan, a violent and profane young man from Liverpool who rebels against virtually all forms of authority and his haunted by a mystical being called Jack Frost. After nearly burning down his school, Dane is sent to Harmony House, a re-education program in the British countryside. He soon finds that the director of Harmony House, Mr. Gelt, is harvesting the souls of all those remanded to him for his strange, otherworldly masters, the Archons of the Outer Church. After making this discovery, Dane is freed by the mysterious King Mob, a freedom fighter and assassin who claims to be a member of a subversive terrorist organization called “the Invisibles.” King Mob takes Dane to London, where he then abandons him. Deciding against returning home, Dane wanders the streets of London and is taken in by Tom O’Bedlam, an old homeless man who claims to know magic. With Tom, Dane learns how to survive by his wits and experiences a partially remembered alien abduction. Tom shows Dane the magic in everyday life and, in one shocking psychological blow, forces Dane to crack open the shell of hate and apathy he had erected around himself after being abandoned as a child by his father and neglected by his mother while growing up. Tom then teaches Dane his final lesson—together, they jump off of a skyscraper in London and are transported into another dimension, where Dane meets a sentient red satellite called “Barbelith” and is shown his destiny. When they return, Tom leaves Dane and instructs him to go to the Invisibles, where he will take the name “Jack Frost.” Out of respect for Tom, Dane obliges, and he joins an Invisibles cell led by King Mob. His teammates are the psychic witch from the future, Ragged Robin; former NYPD officer and martial arts expert, Boy; and Brazilian transvestite shaman, Lord Fanny. With the Invisibles, Dane travels, as a psychic “ghost,” into the past—specifically, the tumultuous period of the French Revolution, where they are sent to recruit the Marquis De Sade into the order. In the present, Orlando, a demonic agent of the Outer Church, attacks the Invisibles’ sleeping bodies in their windmill safe house and cuts off the tip of Jack Frost’s finger with pruning shears. Jack is jolted awake and it is only due to the last-minute interference of Lord Fanny that he survives. When the rest of the Invisibles awake, Jack vows to leave the Invisibles, while soldiers of the Outer Church advance on the windmill under cover of dark.

Apocalipstick

This is followed by a series of three single-issue stories focusing on minor characters. The first follows Jim Crow, a voodoo-practicing American hip-hop star and powerful Invisible who carries the spirit of Papa Guedhe, as he hunts down wealthy businessmen who use a mixture of cocaine and voodoo to take control of the bodies of dead black men and wreak havoc on the ghetto. The second one-off issue takes place at Glamis Castle in Scotland as Sir Miles interacts with the Moonchild, the "Monster of Glamis", a 200 year-old grotesque creature being groomed to provide the physical body the King-Archon will possess in our world. The being is being kept in a "magic mirror" that he leaves periodically to consume prepared human flesh. The flesh is usually homeless people that are kidnapped and or hunted by Myrmidons. The third such issue shows scenes from the life of Bobby Murray, a guard killed at Harmony House by King Mob. It also introduces his wife, Audrey Murray, who joins the story many issues later.

Afterwards, the comics return to the original storyline. King Mob, Ragged Robin, Boy, and Lord Fanny have split up looking for Jack through the streets of London. Sir Miles hires Brodie, a bisexual assassin with a thing for transvestites, to search the gay community for traces of the Invisibles since there have been rumors of one (Lord Fanny, a transvestite shaman) asking questions about Jack Frost. He lures Fanny to his house, where he threatens her with a gun for information. King Mob, noticing his teammate is missing, rescues her, but is shot by Brodie (who, in turn, dies soon afterward). Sir Miles arrives expecting to take Fanny into custody, only to learn he's caught King Mob, a hated enemy, as well. The story is interspliced with scenes of Lord Fanny's coming of age ritual in which she meets the Aztec god Mictlantecuhtli, the Lord of the Dead.

The volume closes with a look at Jack Frost as he wanders aimlessly through London. Jack tries to return to his old, selfish ways, but it is made clear through the guilt he feels for killing the Myrmidon and the compassion he shows a flock of pigeons (creatures he had once been prone to kicking) in a local park that he can never again be who he once was. He remembers his alien abduction, where he is told by his abductors that he is the chosen one, come to deliver humanity to peace and harmony before the apocalypse. Jack rejects this memory and is then found by Sir Miles, who tries to convince him to join the Outer Church in their struggle against the Invisibles. Jack Frost refuses, showing that the riches and women Sir Miles promises can no longer influence him, and uses his vast powers to level a whole street. He runs away and, still hoping he can return to how he was before the Invisibles found him, decides to hitchhike back to Liverpool with a bag of items Tom O'Bedlam left him before he died.

Entropy in the UK

Entropy in the UK opens with King Mob's interrogation by Sir Miles. To break his enemy Miles uses Key 17, a psychoactive drug that makes its victims believe that whatever they read is real. The drug is so powerful it can even make a person see things that they know cannot be true (Sir Miles holds up four fingers, says he is holding up five, then holds up a piece of paper with the words "five fingers" on it, and King Mob sees Miles' spread palm with five fingers). To resist, King Mob hides within his alternate persona Gideon Stargrave. Meanwhile, Ragged Robin and Boy call on Jim Crow to help them rescue King Mob and Lord Fanny from the Outer Church, who have called the King-of-All-Tears, an Archon, to oversee the interrogation. Robin and Jim head to "Alan Dunn's House of Fun", a front where King Mob and Fanny are being held, while Boy catches a train to Liverpool to continue the search for Jack Frost.

Meanwhile, it is revealed that Boy was a police officer in the NYPD and joined the Invisibles to avenge her brother, who she thinks was captured by the Outer Church. She arrives in Liverpool and begins to search for Jack, who has returned to his mother's flat. As two detectives search for him, Jack tells his mother all the unexplainable things he's seen with the Invisibles. Unable to cope with the feelings of compassion he's been running from, he breaks down and cries in her lap, telling her about the man he killed and that he wishes he could be as emotionless as he was before. His teacher, "Big Malkie" (actually a bigtime Invisible named Mr. Six), goes to Jack's mother's flat to warn her that her son might be in trouble. She ignores him, until the two investigators who followed him break down their door. Using Tom O'Bedlam's training, Jack calls upon the power within him and knocks them out with a blast of mental force.

Boy arrives and tries to persuade Jack to rejoin the Invisibles and help her save their friends. Jack suddenly remembers his encounter with Barbelith, where it forced him to feel the pain and suffering humanity has felt for its thousands of years of existence. Barbelith told him he can stop humanity's suffering, but only if he perfects himself first, something Jack vowed to accomplish. Realizing that to do this he would have to do what he feels is right, Jack heads off with Boy and Mr. Six to the "House of Fun" to save his teammates. It is at this moment that Jack finally comes to terms with the compassion Tom O'Bedlam allowed him to feel by breaking open his cold exterior during their time together in Say You Want A Revolution.

As King Mob and Lord Fanny fight their way through the "House of Fun" complex, Robin and Jim Crow (who has allowed himself to be possessed by the Voodoo god Papa Guedhe) battle the King-of-All-Tears' zombies. Suddenly, tumors start to spread across King Mob and Lord Fanny's bodies. Sir Miles, who is now their captive, tells them that the Archon has released nanomachines to rebuild the environment so he can survive on this plane and that these machines are causing the tumors. Sir Miles is not affected because of antibodies injected into his bloodstream. King Mob injects some of Sir Miles' blood into his and Fanny's bloodstreams to immunize them. Then, Ms. Dwyer attacks.

Outside, Jack Frost, Boy, and Mr. Six arrive at the "House of Fun." Jack is split from them as they enter, and is ambushed by the King-of-All-Tears. Using magic supplies in the bag Tom O'Bedlam left him, he is able to repel the Archon with a mystical force field. While in the protective bubble, the King-Archon forces Jack to remember all the terrible things he's done. Jack shakes off the guilt and an apparition of his future self created by the Archon appears before him. His future-self tells him that there is a war going on, but that it is too big a concept for humanity to understand and is being manipulated by "gigantic Manichaean intelligences". He also informs his younger self that the Invisibles are trying to perfect his soul so it can be used as a bomb to trigger the apocalypse on December 22, 2012. These ideas are explored later on in the series.

As his consciousness ascends higher and higher, Jack loses focus on the battle at hand. He is told by reality itself that humanity is "one of the things we made so that we could experience the end". Barbelith (taking the form of Jesus Christ) gives Jack the push he needs to return to his physical body, allowing him to remember only one thing: the King-of-All-Tears' true name (as names hold power in the world of magic). Threatening him with this knowledge, Jack scares his enemy into leaving.

Meanwhile, Mr. Six and Boy continue to search for their comrades, while Jim Crow, who has since split up with Ragged Robin, comes across Ms. Dwyer and kills her, thus saving King Mob and Fanny. The Invisibles reunite, but King Mob is on the verge of death after his capture, interrogation, and Ms. Dwyer's attack. Jack, summoning up his powers, is able to heal King Mob with a substance called Magic Mirror. Jim Crow allows King Mob and his cell to be smuggled out of England to America as part of his rap group's entourage. As the others prepare to leave, Jack Frost restores Sir Miles' "aura", stolen from him by King Mob and Lord Fanny so they could survive the King-of-All-Tears' nanomachines, and allows him to escape, showing his reluctance to kill even a hated enemy and accept the Invisibles' violent methods. For the next volume, Jack will a take a back seat to his fellow teammates as he contemplates his place among the team and how he feels about their philosophies, particularly their dualistic, "us vs. them" mentality and the aforementioned violence.

The last issue is devoted to Division X (Detective Jack Flint, Detective George Harper, and Mr. Six), a squad of paranormal investigators who have been called back into operation over the course of the series, and their investigation of mysterious alien pornography given to them by a mysterious dwarf known as Mr. Quimper. The case led them to the Moonchild, who was the "alien" having sex with the women in the pornographic tapes.

Bloody Hell in America

This volume begins with Jolly Roger, leader of an all-lesbian Invisibles cell, breaking into the Outer Church-run Dulce Base in New Mexico where the rumored cure for the AIDS virus is held. Though she escapes, the rest of her team is captured by the Outer Church.

Meanwhile, King Mob's cell has been relaxing for the past year at the New York estate of Mason Lang, an eccentric and extremely wealthy Invisible. King Mob and Ragged Robin have begun to fall in love with each other, while Jack Frost, Boy, and Lord Fanny vacation in New York City. At dinner, King Mob and Robin listen to Mason Lang's childhood alien abduction story, which in fact was the first step of his initiation into the Invisibles (much like Jack Frost's abduction in volume one). Jolly Roger bursts in, asking for Mason's help, not realizing King Mob, an old friend from the Invisible Academy in North Africa, is there. King Mob and his cell agree to help her steal the AIDS vaccine, and they soon leave for Dulce.

As this occurs, Mr. Quimper begins working with Colonel Friday, a member of the Outer Church much like Mr. Gelt and Ms. Dwyer and the director of the Dulce facility. Quimper reveals that he has used his telepathic abilities to possess Jolly Roger, and is now leading her and her comrades into a trap.

In New Mexico, King Mob's cell switch roles, placing Ragged Robin in King Mob's position. She, Boy, King Mob, and Jolly Roger infiltrate the Dulce facility, while Jack, Fanny, Mason, and two of King Mob's friends, Austin and Emilio, stay behind as back-up. In the facility, King Mob sees the magic mirror substance (the same substance Jack used to heal him with in the previous volume) being transported and knows at once that he has to retrieve it. The tide quickly turns against the Invisibles as Quimper forces Jolly Roger to turn on her teammates and a boggart in the employ of the Outer Church attack Jack and the others.

As Quimper and Colonel Friday race to intercept the Invisibles within the Dulce facility, Ragged Robin uses her psychic powers to turn one of the soldiers surrounding them on the others. Robin tries to enter Quimper's mind to free Roger, but she overloads him and he falls to the floor unconscious, forcing Friday to take him into the Archons' universe to be healed. King Mob helps Roger break free of her brainwashing, while the back-up team defeat the boggart. Jolly Roger and the others succeed in stealing the AIDS vaccine and rush to escape. While Robin and Boy escape with the vaccine, King Mob and Roger take a different route, deep within the twisted bowels of the Dulce facility. They find the remainder of Roger's cell, who all became victims of gruesome experiments that left them pleading for death. King Mob kills them mercifully. Mr. Quimper, now fully healed, confronts Roger. She shoots Quimper, and then asks King Mob to help her kill him, as he won't seem to die.

Counting to None

Counting to None picks up where Bloody Hell in America left off. King Mob and the others have given the AIDS vaccine to Mason Lang's scientists and Jolly Roger says her goodbyes. Mason gets a fax from two of his scientists in California informing him that they have completed work on a time machine project.

While Mason, Ragged Robin, and Boy go to meet Mason's scientists, Takashi and Shoji, King Mob gets a massage from his old girlfriend Jacqui. He meets her and they argue about the ethics of killing in the name of Invisibilism. Jack Frost and Lord Fanny travel to a San Francisco nightclub to meet the Harlequinade, a trio of mysterious benefactors with an unrevealed item the Invisibles want.

As Takashi explains the time machine to Mason and Robin, a duo of sadistic Japanese thugs storm the lab and shoot Robin. They reveal that they want the time machine and that Shoji was working for their cult, Aum Shinrikyo. They shoot Shoji and take Mason, Boy, and Takashi with them, leaving a time bomb in the lab. King Mob comes to the building and rescues Boy, who tells him that about the bomb in Takashi's lab and that Robin is still in it. He rushes into the lab and yells at a recuperating Robin to mind-link with him just as the bomb explodes.

Robin comes to in the same place where Jack was transported to after he jumped off of Canary Wharf with Tom O'Bedlam, which King Mob reveals to be the Invisible College (not to be confused with the Invisible Academy in North Africa). He takes Robin to a room where the same aliens that abducted Jack Frost and Mason Lang start to heal her. King Mob tells her they're "antibodies" from the Invisible College (the alien abductions are part of the initiation process for some Invisibles). After she is healed, Robin tells King Mob that she is actually an Invisible transported back in time to give Takashi vital information about how to make the time machine she would eventually use. She was sent back in time on December 22, 2012, the day of the apocalypse, and at the very moment she disappeared through time Archons burst into the lab she left from and attacked everyone in the room, including Takashi, Lord Fanny, and a mystery Invisible.

The next story arc begins with King Mob calling Edith Manning, a 97 year-old Invisible introduced in Say You Want a Revolution, and telling her he is travelling back into the past – her past – to investigate the Hand of Glory further. He then tells his cell his plans, revealing that Edith told him when he first met her that they had actually met before in Paris in 1924 (the year to which he was planning to travel).

As the rest of his cell talk, Jack tells Boy he "fancies" her, leaving her baffled. King Mob asks her to stand watch while he trances back in time. Boy kisses Jack on the cheek, and before he can react, leaves with King Mob. Lord Fanny asks Jack to bring her the Hand of Glory to show Takashi, and when he opens the case, it's gone.

King Mob completes the ritual to send his spirit back in time, and his spirit appears behind a 24 year-old Edith Manning being held up by Papa Skat, a voodoo practicer like Jim Crow. King Mob tells Papa Skat he is from the future, and Papa Skat lowers his gun, revealing himself to be an Invisible who was checking Edith's loyalties. Edith, King Mob, Papa Skat, and Edith's cousin and fellow Invisible Freddie, a young Tom O'Bedlam, go to a nearby apartment where they were told to meet the Harlequinade on the behalf of their leader, the original King Mob.

The Harlequinade arrive and give Edith the Hand of Glory as King Mob and Papa Skat fight off a pair of Myrmidons and a Cypherman (a psychic projection much like King Mob is now). They then go to see the rest of Edith and Freddie's Invisibles' cell: King Mob I, Beryl Wyndham, and Billy Chang. They activate the Hand of Glory and become briefly unstuck in time before returning to 1924 and forgetting all that occurred. Then the scene cuts to King Mob I and II, Edith, and Freddie standing outside of a church where the Harlequinade told Edith they'd meet her after they solved the "first operation of the Hand". Edith demands the Harlequinade to appear and tell her the second operation of the Hand.

The scene shifts again to Edith and Billy Chang, discussing what she saw at the church. She tells him Harlequin said the Hand would be fully functional once it was anointed. Edith and King Mob then have sex in Edith's apartment and anoint the Hand of Glory with their sexual fluids. King Mob I and II, Edith, Freddie, Beryl, and Chang all gather around the Hand of Glory to see what it really does. A rip is opened into the "infected meta-universe" and King Mob abruptly wakes up in the future, leaving the reader uninformed as to what he saw. Robin informs him that Boy stole the Hand and it's up to them to get it back.

As the Invisibles prepare to track down one of their own, Boy is captured by a man named Coyote. He informs her that she is an agent of the Outer Church trapped in her cover personality of Boy, who was created so she could infiltrate King Mob's cell and steal the Hand of Glory for them. He convinces her of this and turns her to his side. Meanwhile, King Mob, Jack Frost, Ragged Robin, Lord Fanny, and Mason Lang are searching for traces of Boy. They flip a coin on whether to go to Portland, or Seattle, and they decide on Portland, but Jack refuses, saying she's definitely in Seattle.

They arrive in Seattle and check into a hotel where King Mob starts telling them about his experience in 1924. When they opened up the rip in time, King Mob was transported into the supercontext that will assimilate humanity in 2012. He saw Jack boiling a green glove and then came across a large door. It opened and all he remembered was something terrible asking him "what the word is" before he woke up.

As the Invisibles talk amongst each other, Mason mentions a research facility that he owns nearby and Jack snaps to attention and tells them that is the place where Boy is being held. As they drive towards the facility, Jack reveals that he read Boy's mind to see if she liked him and unintentionally formed a mind-link between them, which is how he knew where she was all of the time.

After subduing the Invisibles with a word that is the off-switch for human consciousness, the group present Boy with King Mob and tell her to shoot him in the name of the King-Archon. Boy refuses and attacks Coyote and the others, until one of the men reveals himself to be Oscar, her former partner in the NYPD. He tells her that he's part of Cell 23, a division of the Invisibles that deals with removing Invisibles with enemy emotional implants like the ones used on Boy. Boy is given the opportunity to kill the man who killed her brother, but she refuses and thus is able to make contact with Barbelith. The Invisibles leave Cell 23 and King Mob declares "We love Big Brother", a reference to George Orwell's 1984, to show his misgivings about the group's actions.

Kissing Mister Quimper

After they finish, she and King Mob go to Philadelphia, where their former leader, John-A-Dreams, disappeared while investigating a lead on the Hand of Glory before Jack had been recruited. There they are manipulated by a new weapon developed by Mr. Quimper and Colonel Friday, who are showing it off to the enigmatic Blind Chessman. The weapon, codenamed Scorpio, makes them paranoid enough to believe John-A-Dreams has actually defected to the Outer Church and is stalking them in the catacombs of an ancient church. Robin figures out that it is all an illusion and they leave, meeting up with the rest of their cell in New York with Mason Lang, Jolly Roger, and Jim Crow. They have decided to retrieve the magic mirror substance King Mob saw in the Dulce facility in New Mexico. Boy does not wish to accompany them, and decides to leave after she completes Jack Frost's martial arts training. The former hooligan has now completely dedicated himself to the Invisibles and their cause, and refuses to leave them with her.

Sans Boy, they travel to New Mexico where they infiltrate Quimper's government complex. Quimper believes he is drawing them into a trap, and allows them to enter with ease. He captures King Mob and Jolly Roger, while Jack Frost is taken to the Blind Chessman, who is apparently a member of the Outer Church. He sits at the side of his chessboard so he is not directing either side, implying that he actually plays both sides of the struggle between the Invisibles and the Outer Church. The Blind Chessman's words and actions suggest that there is no difference between the two opposing forces and only by playing both sides like he does can one "win" the game, an idea explored in the final volume of the series. He also tells Jack that Barbelith acts as humanity's placenta, providing a life-support system to the universe.

Meanwhile, Ragged Robin comes to Quimper, and reveals herself to actually be Lord Fanny in disguise. It is revealed that Quimper was once an ally of the Invisibles until he was raped by a group of humans at the same party Fanny had been molested at before she joined the Invisibles. Fanny kisses him and assimilates him into the magic mirror substance, thus purging his soul of corruption. As the other Invisibles escape, the Blind Chessman and Jack Frost walk into the magic mirror substance and are transported into the Archons' universe, where The Blind Chessman reveals that John-A-Dreams had somehow become Quimper and that "now it's a rescue mission". It is here, with the Blind Chessman, where Jack's understanding of reality begins (the Blind Chessman completes Jack's knowledge in the final volume of the series).

The Invisible Kingdom

Another year has passed, and Jack Frost is learning martial arts from Jolly Roger at the Academy in North Africa. The reader learns that the Invisibles' war against the Outer Church is actually a "rescue mission". After learning all he can from Roger, Elfayed, a veteran Invisible, takes Jack under his wing and teaches him the importance of thinking and rationality to a budding Buddha like himself.

King Mob has been traveling in India where he has been questioning his violent ways, while Division X has been tracking Sir Miles, whom they have linked to the Moonchild. King Mob returns to England, where he, Mr. Six, and Six's associate Helga, a talented linguist, devise a scheme to kidnap Sir Miles. As Mr. Six attempts to strip away his partners in Division X, Jack Flint and George Harper, of their false personalities and reveal the Invisibles within (they were Invisibles the whole time, just deep undercover in their cover personalities), multiple psychic Invisibles plant thoughts in Sir Miles' head that lead him to a windmill, where they have set up a base of operations.

Meanwhile, Jack Frost and Jolly Roger are dispatched to a government facility where they sabotage the Outer Church's cyphermen with infectious words from the hidden alphabet that Helga has deciphered so they can't be used to guard Westminster Abbey where Sir Miles plans to summon the King Archon into the body of the grotesque Moonchild. King Mob goes back to India, where he sees Edith Manning. She says goodbye to King Mob, for she has decided it is time to die. While King Mob and Edith meet in India, Mr. Six is invited to betray the Invisibles by a man in a yellow mask and his two dwarves. Mr Six, sensing there is more to their story, agrees and learns that they are actually the Harlequinade in disguise. Apparently, the Harlequinade serve both the Outer Church (as the man in the yellow mask and his two dwarves) and the Invisibles (as themselves). They elevate his consciousness, revealing to him the nature of the universe and helping him prepare for his final role in the struggle: to end the threat of Sir Miles.

King Mob then regroups with Jack, Jolly Roger, and Fanny back in the United Kingdom. He tells Jack that after this last mission, he's quitting his Invisibles cell, but Jack doesn't mind. He's glad he got into it and was given the chance to make the world a better place for everybody. He also plans do away with the violence that has defined the Invisibles for so long.

Jack Frost single-handedly defeats the King-Archon and then travels back into the magic mirror the Moonchild had been kept in. He meets the Blind Chessman who shows him that at the place where the Outer Church and the Invisible College meet there is harmony, represented by the beauty that exists in the overlap. In an interview with Disinfo found in Anarchy for the Masses, the company's guide to the series, Morrison states "the Outer Church just represents the experience of existential horror at the fringes of the human personality. It's where we stop, where everything that is not-us starts to move in. It wants to erase our personalities, it wants to take us over...The Invisibles is about embracing a higher reality, and the higher reality of the supercontext doesn't differentiate. In the higher reality of the supercontext, evil will be [present] as a necessary inoculation, which allows the developing larva to experience bad feelings and integrate them into itself." In other words, the Outer Church is just as necessary as the Invisibles. The Invisibles and the Outer Church, as well as their two respective "meta-universes," represent just two different ways to interpret the truth about reality. Morrison states in the same interview as above: "Humans can conceive...beyond duality, but yet we can't do it. The universe stops you." To realize their full potential and access the supercontext, humanity must fully cast away its binary nature.

Back at the Abbey, John-A-Dreams, who apparently defected to the Outer Church like King Mob had suspected, reveals to Lord Fanny that when he had gone missing he had stepped outside of time and reentered the "game" as himself, Mr. Quimper, and Jack Flint of Division X. He plays both sides of the "struggle", much like the Harlequinade and The Blind Chessman, to manipulate the outcome.

The Invisibles then leave Westminster Abbey after Sir Miles breaks down and kills himself due to the manipulations of Mr. Six and Helga, who had devised a prophecy predicting Sir Miles' death with her own mystical abilities. King Mob vows never to use violence again after a woman, Audrey Murray (whose husband he had killed when springing Jack from Harmony House), helps him, thus freeing him of his bad karma. He quits his Invisibles cell, leaving Jack, who is now ready to fulfill his role of jumpstarting human consciousness using the truths he learned from the Blind Chessman, to start anew.

Fast forward thirteen years: It is 2012, and Jack Frost, along with a member of his Invisibles cell, a girl named Reynard, infiltrate a corporation called Technoccult that has created an Invisibles videogame. King Mob is actually its leader, making true on his promise of nonviolence by promoting peaceful forms of anarchy through his company. He reveals to Reynard that he has built a gun to fire a single shot that he has been dreaming about since 1999. The Invisibles, finally seeing through their limited interpretation of reality, have introduced new things like the drug Sky which simulates alien contact (like Jack Frost and Mason Lang both experienced) and "MeMePlexes", a socially accepted form of multiple personality disorder, to slowly change humanity's way of thinking regarding reality.

We are then taken to Dec. 22, 2012, the day destined to be the end of the world. King Mob, with his gun, enters the lab where Takashi had sent Ragged Robin back in time. The Archons who Ragged Robin had seen attack her comrades before as she was being sent back in time had been defeated, but Takashi and the others, except for an obese Lord Fanny, had all been killed. King Mob steps through a fold in time, caused by the end of the universe being so near, and is transported back into the supercontext he entered in Counting to None.

King Mob then snaps out of his trance and The King-of-All-Tears, the only Archon not to be defeated, attacks him. King Mob shoots his gun and a flag with the word "pop" (the word he had been told to remember when he entered the Hand of Glory in 1924 as a psychic projection) rolls out of it on a flag, causing the Archon, who had been dosed with Key 64 (a stronger version of the word drug Key 23), to explode. This begins a surrealistic sequence, which returns us to Jack, who delivers a brief monologue on the topic of control, apparently breaking the fourth wall, and concluding the series by saying "Your sentence is up", as the panels zoom in on the speech bubble more and more.

Creators

While Grant Morrison wrote the entire series, The Invisibles never had a regular art team, the idea being that each story arc would be illustrated by a separate artist. The artists to work on each issue are:

Issues #4-2 were artistic collaborations which were did not illustrate Morrison's scripts as written. The most notable examples were the three pages Ashley Wood drew in volume 3, issue 2 that were later redrawn by Cameron Stewart for The Invisible Kingdom trade paperback.

Collected editions

The Invisibles has been collected into seven trade paperbacks:

  • Say You Want a Revolution, published 1999-06-01. Collects Volume 1, Issues #1-8 (ISBN 1-5638-9267-7)
  • Apocalipstick, published 2001-04-01. Collects Volume 1, Issues #9-16 (ISBN 1-5638-9702-4).
  • Entropy in the UK, published 2001-08-01. Collects Volume 1, Issues #17-25 (ISBN 1-5638-9728-8)
  • Bloody Hell in America, published 1998-02-01. Collects Volume 2, Issues #1-4 (ISBN 1-5638-9444-0)
  • Counting to None, published 1999-03-01. Collects Volume 2, Issues #5-13 (ISBN 1-56389-489-0)
  • Kissing Mister Quimper, published 2000-02-01. Collects Volume 2, Issues #14-22 (ISBN 1-5638-9600-1)
  • The Invisible Kingdom, published 2002-12-01. Collects Volume 3, Issues #12-1. (ISBN 1-4012-0019-2)

See also

Notes

References

External links

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