Rating: 5/5 – Small Encounters Carry Significant Weight.
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
The first issue of Invisible Republic promises something epic in scope. It’s a big story. At the same time the majority of the issue deals with such a simple and small encounter that carries such significant weight that won’t be revealed until this issue’s final page. That’s the power of Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko’s writing, as well as Hardman’s near perfect artistic storytelling. They take a simple yet dangerous encounter that’s engaging and frightening all on it’s own, and then make you realize just how important that encounter was to the bigger picture by revealing it ties into the larger narrative and the future of this series.
The year is 2843 and writer Croger Babb is investigating the Malory Regime on what looks to be a run down and martial law enforced planet called Avalon. Although the local populace doesn’t want to talk about it, Babb perseveres and comes across something that can break his investigation wide open. From there we flashback to two people on an ocean shore, and their struggle to stay alive during a scene that will last for almost a third of this premiere issue. It’s here that we see just how good of storytellers the husband and wife team of Hardman and Bechko are. In just a few panels you’ll feel the tenseness of the situation through facial expressions and the portrayal of the world around them. What Hardman gives you in each panel is flawless storytelling that could easily be told without any word balloons at all, and for much of it it is.
The colors by Jordan Boyd are darker in tone, but lighten up when needed. The shore line uses muted greens and browns and there’s just enough blacks to give the rocks, clothing and backgrounds a fine level of depth and realism. There’s a small glimpse of alien life in the sea creatures by the shore, and Hardman and Boyd make them look as though they could actually exist. It’s a small example of just how much thought has gone into everything that has a place on the page. My one complaint would be the lettering. The word balloons and fonts are fairly large for some of the limited dialogue and unfortunately covers up the art in a way that seems unnecessary.
Because of the strengths of their past works, Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko will always get me to try out whatever they may be working on, and once again they’ve proven they’re one of the most successful creative duos working today. Invisible Republic is the start of something big, yet the scale of this issue starts off so small. It’s not uncommon for creators to throw lots of information at the reader in a first issue in order to make the story seem larger than it is. Hardman and Bechko do the opposite by focusing on the small things, and how those small encounters and actions contribute to the bigger picture. I’m so ready for issue number two!
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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