For the last 5 issues we, along with the ever-diminishing souls in the Complex building have been waiting for the end of the world, watching as something dark, ominous, threatening, and completely unknown gets closer and closer. Communication with the outside world has been lost, most of the staff have long gone, those that remain are just waiting, waiting for the end of their world.
Or are they?
Things come to a conclusion here in Complex #6, and …..
I just don’t know. Like so much of Noble’s work, the finale is so open to interpretation, so deliberately unclear, full of possibilities, ideas, potential explanations, theories….. it would be frustrating if it weren’t so enthralling, annoying if it hadn’t been so intensely, atmospherically thrilling in the build-up to this.
I read the issue when I got it, sometime early in 2011. Then put it back, meaning to review it quickly.
But I didn’t. I’ve reviewed issues 1-5 previously (1&2, 3-5) and enjoyed them, but as I’ve said before there’s a sense of trepidation with Noble’s work for me, the old story of wondering if I really, truly get it, whether it’s beyond me, whether I’m simply reading too much into it, wanting the experience to be something special, confusing, multi-layered.
Then I got it out again last week, re-read it. Then went back and read issues 1-6 complete
I’m still not sure.
I’m still not bloody sure, and it’s horrible to admit it.
It’s a fascinating, involving, incredibly dense, paranoid inducing tale of isolation, fear, dark imaginings. Noble evokes such mood, such wonderful enclosed mood, aided of course by his artwork, tight close-ups, thick line, an isolation even between panels. Re-reading the whole thing in one go is really a great, slightly unnerving experience. He really can get under your skin.
But the ending. I still don’t know. I’m reading it one way, but I’m almost certain by now that I’m wrong, that Noble meant something else, and I’m equally convinced by now that he enjoys the confusion he spreads with his work. Evil man that he is.
I’ll end with something I said in the review of Complex 3-5:
“Just like all of Noble’s work, Complex walks the razor’s edge between absolute sheer genius and abstract near incomprehensibility. Thing is, even his failures (in my eyes) are glorious ones. And Complex, at least 5/6ths of the way through is a huge, magnificent success. Noble’s a major talent. It’s just a shame no publisher knows it.”
I stand by that. I don’t think Complex ended as strongly as it promised, but that may simply be me. But getting to the end, that was a wonderful comic reading experience in itself. Complex is available complete online, but better than that, You can also buy print copies of each chapter on the site: One, Two, Three, Four, Fiveand Six.
Noble has a new work out with Sean Azzopardi very soon entitled Dark Matters (previewed recently on the blog). I promise I wont take a criminally long 12 months to review the new work Pirouette in that one.