Trying to review the work of the writer Grant Morrison always seems like a double act. For one, it’s the job of the reviewer to give their best description of the comic they read and their earnest thoughts on whether it’s worth the customers’ money. However, Morrison tends to write with an excessive amount of psychedelic weirdness that is difficult to critique. As such, please read this review with a grain of salt since this bizarre material is not the easiest thing to quantify.
Nameless features its titular character, that being Nameless, an occult specialist with a mysterious past, who has been on the run from the federal government and a crime network run by someone called the Veiled Lady. Nameless is a man for hire whose talents land him in a spot of trouble when he attempts to steal an artifact called a Dream Key from, well, someone’s dream. Unfortunately for him, there’s more to this simple heist as he lands himself in trouble with the Veiled Lady and walks right into another, more important, job which may determine the fate of the world.
All of that information should be relatively easy to digest, but this is Grant Morrison, so naturally it involves the sort of drug-infused/influenced insanity he generally brings to the table. This ends up making Nameless #1 a first impression with a bit to be desired. There are details about the world of Nameless, particularly in the first few pages, that go without explanation. Naturally these could be ironed out in the future issues, but for the moment it’s just weird. There’s little characterization for Nameless who is mostly given a few stereotypical British bad-boy traits and nothing to say about the supporting cast.
Chris Burnham proves himself, again, as an ever talented artist. He has the ability to draw the world through the lens of gritty realism but also infuse it with the surreal nature of otherworldly monsters and dreamscapes. Sadly, there’s not much story here to prove his artistic talents, but hopefully he can prove himself in future issues to come.
Whether or not it’s possible to see through Morrison’s layers of madness and symbolism and determine what is or isn’t actual text, Nameless #1 proves itself a decent first impression with reservations. This issue reads like a warm up act for what’s really to come and hopefully it will be much more surreal and horrifying. Chances are this miniseries will read better in collected format and as it stands, readers should go into this issue with such an expectation.