Missing: Have you seen the Invisible Man is a very good, gripping story that with clever writing and brilliant illustration carries you through to its end. I don’t know if this is his first and only story but I hope not.
James Williams is the Invisible Man in question or that is we assume he is from the newspaper style prologue on the front cover. Having said that, it also conjures up a bit of a mystery, one that points the finger at his employer, or insinuated former employer, Prometheus Inc. Giving us the history so far, the newspaper article lets us know James has been inventing an invisibility formula and is now missing, and his wife has spoken out despite and injunction against her pointing the finger at Prometheus. However, as the title points out and the inventing further wets our appetite, we all expect James to be invisible.
From just the front cover Dave West, writer, has thrown out a few questions for his reader, is this going to go the way of other Invisible Man stories? Has he been killed? Is he invisible because he invented the formula or because of an accident that occurs during its creation?
Turning the page gives us one of our answers, James is indeed invisible and is talking to a woman, seemingly his confidant and through Joe Campbell’s illustration, I’ve never seen an Invisible Man that looks so well “invisible” in print.
It also conjures up another question, can this woman see James or not? This I think is a sign of excellent writing backed up by illustrations of the same high standard by throwing us, its readers, snippets of information that makes us ask further questions. In other words, the main selling point of a story, which this one has, is that it grips us as readers and because of this we want to go on and find out more. As a story what we get is not someone gaining a superpower and deciding to use it for the greater good, or someone who is learning everything about his power or the inner struggle/responsibility arc that we see in so many comic book stories.
Instead, we are given an actual human being, someone who has somehow gained this superpower and wants to find out why a load of men burst into his laboratory and opened fire on him and his colleagues. There is, like in any good story, a fair amount of payback given by our protagonist to those who wronged him.
To get there we are given a sort of origin narrative of how James came to be invisible in the first few pages, then we journey with him and grow to appreciate him as he takes his revenge on those involved and then one of the main reasons to read this, we are given the subtle but effective twist that leads us to the stories end.
An end that fits in well with Accent UK’s blessing/curse theme, a theme that shows much more vulnerable heroes and ones grounded in humanity. For me their heroes are not about having a power or a weakness but it’s just something that happens to them and they have to manage their way through it.
If you are looking for something refreshing and different this is a story that does that, it doesn’t drag itself to its end, it doesn’t set up some massive arc that needs another 70 issues to answer all the questions, instead it’s simple, brilliant story telling, with a beginning, middle and end that satisfies in each segment.