This is where Invisibles really takes off. We’ve finished all the prefatory explanatory gubbins and now the gloves are off and we meet the bad guys. And what a ride it is: extraordinary mystical journeys, mind-games of the highest order, horrifying alien bio-technology that make the Borg look cuddly, and even more horrifying ultraporn.
Okay, it’s not entirely easy to understand, but Morrison is setting up a very interesting synthesis of any number of ideas which neatly sets any number of standard religious tropes on their heads. It’s a common idea, from the ancient Mesopotamian religions, to Zoroastrianism, Jewish mysticism, Manicheanism and hence som (heretical) branches of Christianity that the physical world is somehow flawed, and what we want to do is to revert to the pure form of the energy of God outside it. But what if it were the other way round, and the outside is the true evil and is intent on destroying the only possible source of positivity? Who knows? And I’m sure Morrison will do several switches before he’s done.
A couple of points worth noting. First, there’s a clear and growing debt to Philip K. Dick. One of the key ideas is clearly borrowed from VALIS, and there are repeated references to ideas such as the great iron prison and the phrase ‘the empire never ended’, both of which come straight out of Dick’s Exegesis. Rather amusingly, Phil even has a cameo appearance.
The second point is that you may well notice more than a few similarities to The Matrix and its sequels. Please note that this was first published years before the movie came out. In other words, the Wachowskis did another botched comic-book adaptation, but unlike V for Vendetta, here they didn’t even acknowledge the source.