Thursday, 26 March 2015

Invisible Republic #1 - Image Comics

INVISIBLE REPUBLIC No. 1, February 2015
Described by “Image Comics” as “a gritty sci-fi series” Issue One of “Invisible Republic” certainly delivers its co-creators’ vision of the story being both the start of an “epic history” as well as an “intimate scale” tale. For having initially depicted the misery and squalor of a presumably planet-wide evacuation, following the fall of “the Malory Regime”, this book exclusively concentrates on the trials and tribulations of just three individual seemingly low-key characters; two of which lived forty years in the past.

In order to accomplish such an achievement co-writers Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko have clearly learnt from the science-fiction motion picture masters Ridley Scott and George Lucas. In fact, there is a lot of commonality between this title’s opening edition and the feel of both directors’ films. Certainly the squalor, the dirtiness and necessity to seek basic warmth from a bin fire smacks of the seedy, darkly decadent world of “Blade Runner”. Whilst this comic’s oppressive view of the ruling state through the eyes of an innocent young girl, and its depiction as an arrogant authority, simply in charge through sheer force of arms, is classic “Star Wars” storytelling… Even down to the naïve farm girl being protected by her bearded elder; a man who will willingly and unreservedly kill in order to protect that which he holds dear.

Most impressive however is Hardman’s skill as a narrator using just his artwork in order to tell the tale of the legendary Arthur McBride, as opposed to any heavy-handed over-reliance upon the printed word to explain to the reader what is happening. This really is one of the strengths of the former “Hulk” illustrator, especially by the time Maia Reveron’s journal begins telling the tale of when she and McBride were almost press-ganged into Commonwealth “soldiering.”

For three pages barely a word is said as the youngster goes spear-hunting for bony fish and Hardman’s pencils and panel breakdowns wonderfully portray the girl’s obvious delight with her catch. Admittedly this peaceful reverie is momentarily broken by the arrival of a ‘recruitment’ sergeant and two sour-faced squaddies. But when their peril becomes clear, and the pair ultimately fight for their lives, barely a word is ushered for a further nine pages until McBride, believing the three soldiers to be dead, calmly turns to his cousin and asks her to “help me feed those fish."
Writers: Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko, and Artist: Gabriel Hardman

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