Can you think of your favourite horror story?
It’s very likely it will have one of these tropes: haunted house, serial killer’s, possession, home invasion, hell, monsters, gore and violence.
Nameless has all of that, plus a lot more. You may it find hard to believe, but the story doesn’t feel like a horror story. It’s still very unique though and very “Morrison.”
An Asteroid is on a collision course with earth. On it’s surface is a symbol representing a language apparently from Angels. For some reason people who have looked into this symbol have committed immense violence to those around them. Thus it has been asked of a man; an “occult expert” only known as Nameless to go on a space mission to stop the asteroid and find out the meaning behind its message.
This being a Grant Morrison story means it’s not as simple as that. However, that premise isn’t really the story and things go in an unexpected direction.
What I love about Morrison is his ability to tell any story as if he knows his source material better than anyone. When he did Batman Incorporated, he wrote it like he understood how Batman and the others truly see the world. From an over the top, highly stylised, theatrical viewpoint.
In Nameless, the themes deal heavily in mythology, magic and philosophy. But this is Morrison so he doesn’t just hint at these themes, the story relies on them with such a deep level, I truly believe you have to be either a doctor of mythology or Morrison himself to truly understand everything.
That’s not to say the story isn’t interesting for a general audience. It is highly compelling. One of the characters in the story refers to the events as the “Exorcist meets Apollo 13” and I think that explains the theme perfectly!
If you have strong Christian beliefs you may find some of the story offensive. The story delves deep into the idea of humanity. Looking at our existence through horror rather than beauty. The question is often asked: “What is human?” The answer the book tells is not one of positivity but one that may upset some. It also shows ‘God’ in a negative light, but in it’s explanation lies interesting concepts. I don’t want to spoil too much, but none of the shocking concepts in Nameless are new. Most, if not all of the imagery and mythology shown are based on old teachings, from Mayan’s to even some of Crowley’s magic ideas.
You will often be asking yourself: “what is real when you look at each panel? Is this all in the mind of Nameless?”
I enjoy a challenge, so dissecting and going over passages made me understand things on a greater scale.
Chris Burnham’s art made that no chore at all! Those familiar with his previous work with Morrison on Batman Incorporated should already know what to expect. Each character is ‘fleshy,’ each scene and background is lived in and aged. I was thrilled with every bit of it. Burnham may not be the first name you think of when you imagine the perfect artist for this type of story, but that’s what made it so fresh and interesting.
As graphic and disturbing as some of the imagery is, you can’t help but want to see every piece of it. I worry about the homework Burnham must have done to achieve some of the horrors you will witness. But even as grotesque as it is, it’s still Burnham’s work. It still has his flare and style.
Every person may take away something different from Nameless. Whether it’s about Man’s domination over everything he touches, or that we are but a small piece of a bigger universal puzzle.
Nameless will leave you with questions!
I highly recommend those interested pick up the volume rather than the individual issues as at the back of the book Morrison himself gives little hints, key points and backstory behind Nameless.
I enjoyed it more than I was expecting! It may not be for everyone but I urge fans of sci-fi and philosophy to give it a go.