Comic Book Review: Invisible Republic #1
The last couple of years or so have seen a big upswing in science fiction comics. I credit “Saga” for this because that took off in such a big way that publishers have really begun to place their bets on the genre and we’ve seen a bunch of series launch since. Series like “Roche Limit”, “The Fuse”, “FBP” and “The Woods” have received critical acclaim and fan adoration over the last couple of years and that’s the kind of success “Invisible Republic” hopes to achieve. “Invisible Republic” #1 is a fantastic debut that could be the beginning of the next big thing in science fiction.
“Invisible Republic” #1 begins in the year 2843 and introduces us to journalist Croger Babb . He’s trying to cover the aftermath of the downfall of the Malory Regime by talking to citizens of Avalon, located in the Gliese System. Croger comes across a journal written by Maia Reveron, a mysterious figure from this planet’s past that not many people know about. Maia’s journal contains secrets about the Malory Regime that Babb will try to bring to light as this series progresses.
“Invisible Republic” #1 is a dynamite first issue that evokes so many different moods and genres. The solicitation states that it is “Breaking Bad meets Blade Runner” but but I’d go further and say that it combines Blade Runner‘s noir tone with elements of “DMZ” and “Ex Machina” (the comic series). The team of Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman waste no time setting things up for us and they a very nice job of covering all the basics. A leader has fallen and through this journal, and the view points of both Croger and Maia we’ll learn the truth of the rise and fall of a powerful and seemingly ruthless leader. Croger is obviously an important part of this since he has found the journal but Maia is poised to be the star of the series. No one really knows of her existence and she had a front row seat to everything that’s happened. From the very beginning we see something different in her. Maia does not come off cold like the rest of the character’s are. She feels out of place thanks to the warmth that emanates from her and the kindness she shows during a critical point in the story. It centers the reader to someone they can believe in. However, I do fear that she may become a bit one note compared to her cousin Arthur who will undoubtedly get a large amount of spotlight.
What makes “Invisible Republic” so accessible is that this isn’t really ‘out there’ science fiction. Avalon is a dilapidated and damaged place but it doesn’t feel out of the realm of possibilities. At it’s core, “Invisible Republic” is going to be a story about people and the choices they make. It’s a political thriller and a story about family. The more science fiction elements are here and I’m sure we’ll see even more of it as time goes on but this issue feels very much like something that could actually happen right now. Without spoiling too much, you can point to real world events happening now (or happened already) that influence some of this story. This isn’t a comic that’ll make you laugh but it will get you thinking on a deeper level than most things and that has to be appreciated.
Gabriel Hardman does a fabulous job on art. His style is perfect for this story which is really the fun part about creator owned comics. You have great artists like Hardman doing exactly what it is they do best. Hardman sets a wonderfully vast but moody atmosphere with visuals that definitely have a Blade Runner vibe. Hardman doesn’t lose a step on panels with large background shots. The ships are well detailed and the designs are truly futuristic and other worldly without looking like something that isn’t a natural progression of what we already have. You see this again with the character designs and what they wear. Hardman sticks to a very realistic approach but does enough to make this feel like we’re not reading something taking place in 2015. The angles he uses are very cinematic and add a level of movement that far too many comics lack. Even the lighting within each panel is spot on. Colorist Jordan Boyd does a very nice job working with Hardman’s art and is able to make this a dark comic book without getting muddy. Boyd does a nice job balancing out the shadows with the things we need to see and he really does different things from the current action compared to the flashback, showing just how talented he is.
“Invisible Republic” #1 is a great addition to the science fiction genre in comics and I whole-heartedly expect this series to be a breakout hit in 2015. It’s got so much going for it that you would be crazy to pass on it.