The Invisibles, Vol. 1: Say You Want a Revolution
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The Invisibles, Vol. 1: Say You Want a Revolution (The Invisibles #1)

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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  6,143 ratings  ·  280 reviews
Throughout history, a secret society called the Invisibles, who count among their number Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, work against the forces of order that seek to repress humanity's growth. In this first collection, the Invisibles' latest recruit, a teenage lout from the streets of London, must survive a bizarre, mind-altering training course before being projected into...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by DC Comics (first published May 1st 1996)
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Community Reviews

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StoryTellerShannon
This is the first volume of what many consider to be a classic series. The first half focuses on a young Jack Frost, a problem teenager, who is initiated into the Invisibles and thus gives the reader a look into this fantastic world. Jack goes to a boarding school that turns out to be a lot more and picks up a homeless mentor who teaches him about other worlds and the possibility of visiting them. The second part is about the Invisibles using a time travel ritual to visit and hire the Marquis de...more
Keely
When I started to get into comics in college, it was the britwave authors who I found most appealing: Moore, Gaiman, Delano, Ellis, Ennis, Milligan, and Morrison. But when I tried to read Morrison's Magnum Opus, I found none of the careful structuring or intelligent dialogue which I was hoping for. In disappointment, I threw down Morrison's book and it was a long time before I gave him another chance.

But when I did, I read WE3 , Morrison's cleanest and least pretentious story. I still have troub...more
Sam Quixote
I know, I know, I’m late to the party on this one! The first volume of The Invisibles came out 20 years ago and I’m just now getting around to reading it – all I can say is: Batman. But anyway, I’m here now and glad to have finally read such a talked-about book and discovering that it’s really good!

The first Invisibles book introduces us to our hero Dane McGowan, an angry working class teenager from Liverpool who spends his evenings vandalising property while his single mother entertains her la...more
Sesana
Grant Morrison has said that he wrote The Invisibles as part of a magic ritual, and also that aliens told him part of the plot. Really. The Invisibles ends up being pretty much exactly what you'd expect, given that background. Let me also add that there's a great deal of ultra-paranoid conspiracy theory culture as well as the expected psychedelic gods and astral time travel and such. As for the plot... Well, there's an ill-defined secret conspiracy to rob humanity of free will and The Invisibles...more
Steve
Apr 08, 2008 Steve rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with heart and brain connected
This graphic novel is a spicy gumbo of astounding influences. Listing just a few: Illuminatus!, brain machines, psychedelics, chaos magick, conspiracy theory, mind control, The Prisoner, Michael Moorcock's The Cornelius Chronicles, material gnosticism, Dada, Situationism, violence/ ahimsa, time travel, secret societies... Author Grant Morrison never disappoints and serves as a reminder that much of the most advanced fiction of our times is turning up in comic books. Like Robert Anton Wilson befo...more
Patrick
It's funny, but everything I liked and didn't like about the Doom Patrol book I read is everything I don't like and like about this book. Whereas I reveled in the "dada" aspect of the Doom Patrol, and was disappointed when all the nonsense began to have a pat logic to it, this book's nonsense struck me as too much free posturing, and I wanted desperately for some semblance of plot to exist to grab my attention on.

There is something to be said about Aristotle's old bit about a story needing a be...more
Martin
Yeah, okay. As fellow reviewer William Thomas points out, the book suffers because of the art. Steve Yeowell & Jill Thompson, respectively illustrating the first and second arcs, don't exactly make the book stand out. I liked Yeowell's output better than Thompson's, though.

Story-wise, I'm aware [1] of the phenomenon that "The Invisibles" has become, [2] that it probably picks up in pace and what-not in subsequent volumes, and that [3] what I'm reading will most likely make more sense later -...more
Zane
Sep 07, 2008 Zane rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Zane by: John DiGiovanni
I picked these first 8 issues up on ebay for a measly $4.00. Best 4 dollars I've spent in a long time. The cast of characters is weird: the Marquis de Sade, Mary Shelley, The head of John the Baptist, a Mexican tranny witch, Lord Byron, etc.

Immediately, the work and art is really 90's, which is a bit offsetting, because it seems to need a futuristic feel for the story to function. The invisibles are unveiling the present as it is to fight for a future that should have been here by now. By the t...more
Derrick
Picked this one up at the LCS because of all the discussion surrounding the Omnibus release. I figured it was time to sample it.

I don't think I like it. I really struggled at first because Dane is so unlikable -- I just don't identify with that kind of rebellion. (I can see where he would speak to a lot of kids, though, especially back in the 90's.) Then I liked it with Mad Tom playing the Merlin/Wart, Way of the Peaceful Warrior Socrates, etc character for Dane. And then Arcadia felt pretentio...more
MIke
I'll write this review for all volumes.

"The Invisibles" is 1960's psychedelia wrapped in modern clothing and wrung through every magickal wringer Grant Morrison could reach. Aliens that may or may not be, conspiracies that loop around themselves and the New Buddha in the body of a foul-mouthed Liverpudian boy named Dane. It's a tale of Us vs. Them that eats itself like orobouros.
Michael Moreci
I don't know if The Invisibles is insane, brilliant, or both. Morrison is just throwing everything and anything out there, from Marquis de Sade to The Prisoner to Templar conspiracies. The book is difficult to get into, for two reasons. The first, and most basic, is the central character, Jack Frost, is a bit flat and somewhat tiresome--with so many complex and, let's face it, bat-shit nutty ideas flying around, he's a character who isn't equipped to carry the book. There's also the book's caden...more
Lindsay
I've only read this first volume so far, but for now The Invisibles is rivaling Alan Moore's Promethea as the weirdest comic-book series I've ever read.

The two series have more than weirdness in common: the protagonists of both are young people who quickly learn there's a lot more to the world than meets the eye when they are attacked by mysterious, shadowy creatures that are clearly not of this world. There's magic in both series, particularly astral projection: going to other planes of being i...more
Holly
Sep 07, 2009 Holly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
This comic is, to put it bluntly, a complete mind-f**k. It is truly weird, and truly groundbreaking. After reading this comic I had to decompress with cute pictures of fluffy kittens before bed so that I could try to avoid having nightmares. The kittens didn't really help much. Now, this is not to say I won't be continuing to read this, as I really want to see where it goes, but it's a tough one for me to read.

The Invisibles refers to a "super hero" team fighting the good fight against a shady a...more
Daniel
Mar 01, 2009 Daniel rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Daniel by: Quentin Lewis
An interesting work, filled with dark and mystical themes. It's a little hard to get into, there's a unique rhythm to the narrative that the reader needs to find before they can really flow with it. The world is being controlled by an alien (extra-dimensional) conspiracy that forces people into soul-less compliant behavior, and the Invisibles are a secret society of guerrilla cells that practice both physical and psychic warfare against said conspiracy.

It's an ambitious plot, and this first volu...more
Ryan Mishap
The first two thirds of this were arresting, but then it quickly irked me once time travel and the Marqui de Sade were involved.

A teenage trouble-making thug is sent to a reform school where parts of their brains and their testicles are removed, but he's saved by an Invisible and inducted into their cell after a long education on the streets with Tom Bedlam. See, there's a war on between the beings who want to rule the earth, the Invisibles, and the earth itself who wants humanity to move onto t...more
Tim Pendry
This was a little disappointing as the first volume in a series widely touted as innovative. Of course, looking at something in 2010 is not going to be the same as looking at in 1994 when it was first published but it does not stand the test of time in the way that the Sandman series of Neil Gaiman or the work of Alan Moore has done.

Morrison is not stupid. He plays well with the tropes of Chaos Magick (never mentioned but central to the thinking behind the book) and with the psychogeography of L...more
Joe
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris
Definitely not Morrison's best work. It does contain a lot of the things I LOVE about his writing, but there's a lot of stuff I don't care for mixed in as well. I felt it got off to a slow start, with jarring exaggerated 90s-punk-kid angst. Towards the end there was some content which was simply too brutal for me to enjoy, in spite of what points it was trying to make.

I'm defintely interested in continuing to read this series, though. I feel like it was getting much better as it went along, apa...more
David Schaafsma
This is a book that is British punk angry revolutionary political with sci fi and history and DeSade and the Beatles and by Grant Morrison... okay art, pseudo-psychedlelic to resurrect the sixties.... I dunno. Inner/outer revolution, sexual, musical.... but I didn't really get into it.

So today, in early January, I just read Sam Quixote's fine review of this book and have been influenced by my friend Matt Williamson to reconsider it, and to go deeper into it, since it gets better, and my wife's f...more
Travis
History has been shaped by the war between two vast secret conspiracies, both trying to shape mankind and prepare it for 'something' that is coming in the future.

Imagine every conspiracy theory is true, and that it's all being explained to you by someone who has just taken LSD and you'll get a small idea what to expect when you read the Invisibles.

A brilliant series, so full of great characters and mad ideas that you won't mind that you'll have no idea what's going on 3/4s of the time.

Wildly ent...more
Drew
This is odd in all the right ways. King Mob's disguise is one of the coolest I've ever seen. Jack's trials in the first half of book is worth the price of admission alone. Clearly Morrison is channelling his Doom Patrol voice. This is a better story than Doom. Doom was more of a collection of good ideas. This tells a real story, while simultaneously trying the explain reality at the same time. This would be an impossible task in the hands of any other writer. Bravo Young Master Morrison. On to A...more
Eric England
The Invisibles Volume One: Say You Want A Revolution by Grant Morrison, Steve Yeowell, and Jill Thompson is a wonderful graphic novel that tackles complex literary and philosophical themes in a throughly entertaining manner. The first half of the graphic novel focuses on Dane McGoven, a young British street punk who gets inducted into a group of rebel magicians known as the Invisibles. The second half is more ambitious and involves time travel to the French Revolution, evil demons, visits to lit...more
Sam Peekeekoot
Wow. The Invisibles Vol. 1 was simultaneously one the darkest and most shocking comics I've read, while actually being a very optimistic story underneath it all.

Dane McGowan is an intelligent and thoughtful young man with a lot of things to feel rightfully angry about. His anger makes him lose control and he lacks the maturity and wisdom to use his defiance in creative ways, spending his time as if he were running around with the gangs in A Clockwork Orange, taking his anger out foolishly. His...more
J.M. Hushour
As with anything Grant Morrison-y, it's a tad difficult to describe why one enjoys so much what one is reading. His run on Batman, one of the best ongoing arcs in years that completely re-envisioned the comic, is superlative and stands as a staid lesson in how to reinvigorate characters and their realities the right way.
"The Invisibles" was one of Morrison's first major projects for DC. Originally touted by Morrison as part of an extraterrestial revelation given him by aliens, the comic later ev...more
Joseph R.
It is hard to say anything about The Invisibles that accurately summarizes what it is. It is a graphic to be experienced, most likely two or three times just to get in tune with what the hell is going on within its pages. The characters are phenomenal and the imagery will seep into your subconscious and you will find yourself trying to say street signs backwards if only to get closer to knowing the "truth".
William Thomas
the problem with the invisibles series is the same as the problem with the sandman- great writing and awful artowrk/layouts. however, it seems the graphic parts of the novel are necessary because i don't think it would have worked as well or at all purely written word. also, a problem, is the fractured and disjointed storytelling, almost mirrors gaiman's sandman books in that respect page to page. annoying.
Shannon Appelcline
Dead Beetles (1). A good introduction, primarily because it offers a great character sketch of Dane and suggests some of the weirdness that is to come [7/10].

Down & Out in Heaven & Hell (2-4). This is basically the story of Dane's initiation, and it's never been my favorite arc. It's too decompressed, and it's all about tearing Dane away from what's familiar to him, but it doesn't really approach the mysteries of the Invisibles, and that's just not enough to support a story line. Still,...more
A.
After 122 pages of violently critiquing the tired trope of the superhero origin story, Morrison finally moves on to present an engaging mediation on utopian thinking in the guise of time travel thriller. Fascinating writing, but it takes almost too long to get to the good stuff. Jill Thompson's art makes me nostalgic for the way we drew comics in the 90s. Steve Yeowell's does not.
Caitlin
A diverting comic with all of your standard sub culture devices. Probably better when it was truly novel, 20 years out the effect is muted. It's revolutionary idealism and us vs them which is good as intellectual pornography but little else. The characters definitely seem a little 2D, but maybe that's because they've been reinterpreted ad infinitum since they came out.
Melissa
There is some creeepy stuff in this comic; those tally-ho hunter guys with the dark glasses, and what about that unfleshed Aztec god? Should not have read about him right before bed. That said, I'm not sure if I'll get into this series or not. It has some compelling plot elements but I don't really like any of the characters, especially the forever whinging Dane.
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Scottish comic book author Grant Morrison is known for culture-jamming and the constant reinvention of his work. He is known for his nonlinear narratives and countercultural leanings in his runs on titles including DC Comics' Animal Man, Batman, JLA, The Invisibles, Action Comics, All-Star Superman, and Doom Patrol, and Marvel Comics' New X-Men and Fantastic Four. Many of these are controversial,...more
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