The Invisibles Omnibus collects every single issue and short story of the series:
- The Invisibles #1 to 25
- The Invisibles (2nd series) #1 to 22
- The Invisibles (3rd series) #12 to 1 (that's right, it was published in "countdown" order)
- Absolute Vertigo (a 6-pages Invisibles short story)
- Vertigo: Winter's Edge #1 (an 8-pages Invisibles short story)
(Winter's Edge and Absolute Vertigo were anthology specials with multiple short-stories, only the Invisibles ones are included, as the rest of them are completely unrelated to the book).
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How to sum-up The Invisibles? In its core, The Invisibles is about a motley crew of rebels fighting by any means necessary to liberate humanity from the domination that was unconsciously imposed upon us by extra-dimensional entities. Magic, conspiracy theories, Manichaeism, Eschatology, tantric sex, alien abductions, ultra-violence, time travel, consciousness-expansion, fashion and memes are among many of the key themes in the series. Think of The Matrix on psychedelic drugs and much more complex (The Invisibles is in fact regarded as a major influence to the Wachowski brothers' film and many parallelis between both works can be drawn).
Grant Morrison is a very controversial author and this is arguably his most personal and complex work. Some people describe it as an avant-garde masterpiece, while others think of it as unintelligible and pretentious drug-induced junk. I'm afraid this is a love-it-or-hate-it book, with no shades of grey in between, so it's quite a risky buy to say the least.
My review will focus on the edition of this Omnibus title and the different kind of readers it may appeal to, rather than the story itself. There are lots of very helpful reviews, both positive and negative, that you can find in this site (The Invisibles was originally collected as 7 softcover books, and each one of them has many reviews right here in Amazon).
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FOR THE HARDCORE MORRISON FAN:
If are an avid collector, you should definitely get this book. This are probably his most "sacred scriptures" collected in the best deluxe presentation available.
FOR THE CASUAL MORRISON READER:
Beware, this is an expensive book and you're buying it at your own risk. The Invisibles is quite different from Morrison's most mainstream (but also excellent) works like New X-Men, Batman, JLA or All-Star Superman. If you enjoyed those books chances are you may like The Invisibles also, but Morrison writes his more "personal" stuff differently from his super-hero works, these are more demanding and radical writings, sometimes you'll read and have no idea what's going on, but when you advance with the reading (and with later subsequent re-readings) more pieces of the puzzle will fit into place. That's one of the main attractive aspects of Morrison's stories, but also one of their most repellent factor sometimes.
FOR THE NEW MORRISON READER:
If you've never read any Morrison book before, unless you're a reader that is really into the heavy occult/sci-fi/conspiracy/counter-culture stuff, I'm not sure this title is the best way to be introduced to his work. While The Invisibles is a stand-alone book, I also think it's the culmination of ideas and concepts that Morrison had been working for years before in other titles. I can tell you from my personal experience that having read his Animal Man, Doom Patrol and JLA runs before getting to The Invisibles prepared me to embrace and enjoy better the complex narrative and ideas of this book. Or you can always buy the much cheaper softcover edition that collects the first issues to get a taste of the title, and if you get hooked then go for this Omnibus.
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ONE POSITIVE AND ONE NEGATIVE THOUGHT ON THE SERIES:
- One of the best aspects of The Invisibles is that this series allows for multiples readings, so if you like it, this is one book you'll find yourself re-reading many times. This is a great additional value to me, because not only I get a deluxe edition and an excellent comic, but also lots of hours of enjoyment and entertainment for my money.
- One of the most negative aspects of this series is the inconsistency in the art, as it comprises a lot of different artists. Some of them are great, like Phil Jiménez, Chris Weston or Frank Quitely, but there are too many different artistic styles and that doesn't make any good to the book. In this case, the diversity of artists is not a positive thing, in fact it's distracting and off-putting sometimes.
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ABOUT THE EDITION:
This Omnibus is definitely gorgeous, with a very solid sewn-binding that makes the book lay flat on the table (quite like the Marvel Omnibus editions) and allows for a comfortable reading (that is, for a monstrous 1500-plus pages book, of course!). This looks like the kind of book that will last for a lifetime: the high quality sewn-binding seems to be able to sustain multiple readings without any risk of damaging it. However, this books is stiffer to open than the Marvel Omnibuses. Marvel Omnis feature more flexible bindings, thus making the reading experience a bit more comfortable. The gutter loss in this book is almost nonexistant, even in the middle pages, so the art can be fully appreciated.
The paper stock is heavy weight and glossy, you don't see the art through the pages. The printing quality is great as well, with pristine reproductions of the multiple artists' work. I'm also very pleased with the overall design of the book: the new cover by Brian Bolland looks great and the design of both the dustjucket and the hardcover under it look amazing. The interior design is very well-done too.
This edition includes a 2-pages introduction by Gerard Way, vocalist of My Chemical Romance. At the end of the book, a section of 54 pages of extras is also included, ranging from Morrison's original series proposal to character design sketches, the logo and multiple cover design processes, original pencilled pages and a selection of Morrison's essays from the Invisible Ink section originally published in the monthly issues. However the letters pages are not included, I understand that their inclusion would have made this beast of a book even bigger, but it's a shame nonetheless.
EDIT: I've uploaded a bunch of images so you can see this beautiful book in detail.