One of the strangest elements in Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham sci-fi horror miniseries has been how shockingly tame it’s been. That’s not to say what is presented in this recent issue of the inaugural outing are anything that doesn’t warrant a mature content warning, just that it’s strange to see the creative team of such mind bending works like Batman Inc. and The Multiversity: Pax Americana be this far into their limited miniseries and not fully engage the body horror and raging madness of say Event Horizon. That all being said, this issue is a massive improvement from last month, but to the point one wonders why the first two issues couldn’t have been at least fit together.
The issue opens up with the titular occult specialist, Nameless, enroute to a super-secret base on the dark side of the Moon owned by an enigmatic businessman called Darius. Nameless is part of a specialized team set to change the course of an asteroid set to collide with Earth. But this is no job for astronauts and physicists alone. The asteroid has the sigil of Az carved on its side and given the fate of the last mystic Mr. Darius hired, there is more to this than what science can explain. The sci-fi/horror mash up is a fantastic idea, even one of the crew says it’s like the Exorcist meets Apollo 13. There are some truly disturbing twists to be had, besides all what befall that poor former mystic, but Nameless is still struggling to hit the right beats. Almost the entire cast goes unnamed, and there’s very little to care about them. Save for one of Nameless’s fellow crewmembers there’s no telling them apart, lining them up all too easily to be killed off in future issues. Nameless himself is not that compelling of a protagonist, even by gruff, cynical, and hard-bitten British characters go.
Much of the slack of this issue’s writing is made up for in Chris Burnham’s art. With especial credit to Nathan Fairbairn, the look of Nameless is the real star. They set the mood on the dark side of the Moon, using creative panel layouts and colors to drive home the cramped, claustrophobia setting. There are some other times, the layouts have a few superfluous moments but are otherwise well used. There are moments where Burnham truly conveys the scale of outer space, with the great looming asteroid overhead. There are some hick ups to be certain. It took a second reading to realize there are in face multiple little drones which Mr. Darius and his board of associates use to chat with the crew but otherwise no real complaints.
Nameless #2 is a bit of a tough sell. While this book has a fantastic creative team, they haven’t really been creative in these first two issues. With a third of the series already up, one wonders when this book will finally connect. This issue is an excellent lead up to what could be a terrifying third issue. Given how hard it is to see these first two issues hold up on revisitation, it maybe be best to jump in on issue three.