Missing: Have You Seen The Invisible Man? is the second in publisher Accent UK’s Blessed/Cursed series of one-off short graphic novels packaged externally as “The Accent” newspaper. The previous title in the series was the excellent Whatever Happened to the World’s Fastest Man? written by Dave West and illustrated by Marleen Lowe which won a well-deserved Eagle Award. Of course that means that Dave West’s second title in this series, this time with artist Joe Campbell, has a lot to live up to.
Scientist James Williams has been leading a military funded research team working on a formula to make living things invisible. Their success has so far been tempered by the fact that while they can make their living animal guinea pigs invisible the formula also makes them blind. In trying to overcome this blindness issue they have been working on a formula that will enhance all the senses. Such research is highly valuable and the book begins with their secret lab being overrun by heavily armed and ruthless men and, as his colleagues are shot dead around him, Williams realises that the only way for him to survive is to take the untested formula and become invisible himself. The injection appears to work and he silently watches as the men search the facility for him and the invisibility formula itself. Discovering how the lab’s secrecy was breached, he is able to make his way to the men’s base and there he decides to take revenge on his colleagues’ killers.
Invisible Man, like Fastest Man before it, is effectively a long Future Shock that takes time to build up and then play out. In Fastest Man the twist from Blessed to Cursed is fairly subtle as the main character realises what must be done, however in Invisible Man the twist really is a shock to both character and reader as the Cursed part of the story hits home in one single large panel. Artist Joe Campbell’s black and white line art is stark and realistic and is reminiscent of Arthur Ranson’s B&W line work in 2000AD and Look-In. His differential between invisible and the non-invisible is simple but effectively done with the invisible character drawn as see-through and often in the extreme foreground or background away from the sight-lines of other characters.
Does it live up to the previous title? Invisible Man is a very different beast to Fastest Man. Fastest Man takes a bad situation and makes it up-lifting for the reader, although not necessarily for the protagonist, while Invisible Man takes a brutal situation and uses it to justify the protagonist’s almost as brutal act of revenge before the story is given its twist which takes it off in a different though just as interesting direction.
Missing: Whatever Happened To The Invisible Man? is a worthy continuation of writer Dave West’s Blessed/Cursed theme while artist Joe Campbell’s line work fits the story well. It isn’t going to win an Eagle Award, because they are on hiatus, but it is well worth reading.
There are more details of Missing: Have You Seen The Invisible Man? on the Accent UK website.
Accent UK will be selling both Blessed/Cursed titles, Missing: Have You Seen The Invisible Man? and Whatever Happened to the World’s Fastest Man?, along with the rest of their titles at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal over the weekend of 19/20 October 2013. The Accent UK sales table will be on the first floor of the Comics Clock Tower.