Sunday, February 6, 2011
Issue Eighteen: Messiah
"Entropy in the U.K. Part Two: Messiah"
Sir Miles continues to interrogate King Mob. KM is injected with a drug called Key 17, which causes the user to be unable to distinguish between written words and the actual things they represent. Sir Miles convinces Gideon that he has cut off his fingers and destroyed his face.
Flashbacks show King Mob spending time with Aboriginal people in Australia. He declares himself "Scorpion Dreaming" and is allowed to descend into Ayer's Rock, where he sees a gigantic, fish-like spaceship, and then begins to have a "Barbelith" experience similar to Jack Frost's.
Sir Miles, unable to prove that the man he has been torturing is King Mob, is forced by his superior Miss Dwyer to drink her milk, which has been tainted by nanomachines related to the archons of the Outer Church. Using the psychic boost they give him, Sir Miles finds a memory of King Mob performing a tantric sex ritual with Lady Edith Manning, and discovers that the Invisibles learned Jack Frost is returning to Liverpool.
Boy investigates the apartment King Mob keeps in his "Kirk Morrison" persona, only to find that the police are already there. She is grabbed by a policeman, but fights him off, and is driven away by a random passerby who enjoys seeing people stand up to the cops. She arrives back at Invisibles HQ, frantic in her certainty that something has happened to KM and Lord Fanny, only to find that Ragged Robin has recruited Big Jim Crow to help them.
I'd like to show you something now. A mirror.
I was having trouble breaking this issue down, until I was hit by a sudden revelation. The whole first volume of The Invisibles is a meditation on shamanic initiation. And we get some of that, with King Mob's flashbacks. But Gideon isn't the character being initiated here: Sir Miles is.
Sir Miles is the one gaining access to a language "whose words do not describe things but are things" in the form of the drug Key 17. It's Sir Miles who has a "magic stone" forced into him in the form of Miss Dwyer's archon-changed milk. He's reliving memories of his youth, having parts of his identity stripped away, reacting with fear when touched by a higher world. And he comes out of it with power and understanding.
Of course, in regards to a lot of it, he refuses to listen. Part of the fun of the Gideon Stargrave interludes is the way they reflect and contain the world of The Invisibles in them. Gideon is being pursued by a psychically created double (shades of Sir Miles being a mirror image of King Mob) while his trusty assistant rattles off yet another variation on initiation - it's all there, if Miles and his unsavory associates had the capacity to listen. Even more so when KM, re-living his Barbelith moment, starts rambling the heavy stuff.
"Qabbalexic neurostasy.. trans-mater... ellipticryptic hymgnosis... ectogens... infoplacental halluciongenesystems." Frankland dismisses them as speaking in tongues, as if that makes them less important instead of more. None of that stuff, far as I can tell, is English, per se, but it brims with ideas. And all of them relate to a connection between language/information and birthing. Rebirth from flesh into ideas. It's the Barbelith experience, in word form, and Frankland and Miles just skip over it like an impatient reader moving over the page.
I don't have a lot to say about King Mob's Australian experiences - it's one more version of the initiation from another angle, with the descent into the rock mirroring Fanny's descent into the underworld and Dane's trip down into the tunnels. The idea that Ayer's Rock itself is a magic stone, one for the entire planet, is an interesting one, though. The hippy from a few episodes back (in fact, the one where half of the sex ritual we see in KM's mind takes place) talked about the planet itself becoming sentient. Maybe he was closer to the truth than we thought - we've been told the end of the world is coming, and the entire planet being initiated into magical awareness would look a lot like that.
Speaking of that ritual - it's essentially King Mob having sex with time itself, merging Edith in her 20s and Edith in her 90s, youth and death and all the years in between, sinking into and losing himself in it. If the "gods" are just us, unmoored from time, then King Mob has found a handy way to commune with them...