Invisible Republic 6 (September 2015)

Invisible Republic #6

There’s some very good stuff this issue. Not all of it, but some of it. Bechko and Hardman have get a couple good surprises in—the most impressive aspect of Invisible Republic (so far) is how thoughtful and controlled their narrative moves. It almost reads like an adaptation of something else—a novel—thanks to that thoughtfulness. There’s a depth to the comic, even though some of it seems standard.

For example, this issue is mostly talking heads. It’s Maia in the journal flashback doing talking heads, it’s the reporters in the present doing talking heads. Neither element is particularly interesting (save the two or three reveals the writers get in) but Hardman’s art is strong enough it doesn’t matter much. He creates a perfectly reasonable sci-fi setting for these events, which would read (in summary) like twentieth century European political history otherwise.

The one big problem with the comic is the disconnect between Hardman’s style and the present day reporter protagonist. The guy is too lame and Hardman draws him too clean. The reporter, Babb, is a punchline, yet Hardman doesn’t have that kind of humor in his art.

It’s a solid, gorgeous book.

CREDITS

Writers, Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko; artist, Hardman; colorist, Jordan Boyd; editor, Brenda Scott Royce; publisher, Image Comics.

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Invisible Republic 4 (June 2015)

Invisible Republic #4

The present continues to be a problem in Invisible Republic. Dystopian, otherworldly newspaper stories just don’t have much potential apparently. Especially not when the solution is simple–either Maia dies (regardless of how) or she lives. She might be some kind of mythic figure or a rich lady or a poor lady, but there are limited options.

It appears Bechko and Hardman understand those limitations because they keep making the present stuff more complicated. In this issue, the male reporter gets a female sidekick. She’s a better character than him, which seems like a good sign, but then their joint investigation is boring.

Meanwhile, the flashback to Maia working in bees is good. The writers have a good idea for her story, they just put it in a somewhat useless frame. Hopefully that frame will get better, but it’s actually been getting worse.

As always, some gorgeous art from Hardman.

CREDITS

Writers, Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko; artist, Hardman; colorist, Jordan Boyd; editor, Brenda Scott Royce; publisher, Image Comics.

Invisible Republic 3 (May 2015)

Invisible Republic #3

Little bit too much future stuff going on this issue of Invisible Republic. There’s a whole action sequence with the reporter. Hardman’s art is intricate for the action sequence, which has two parts in the issue and is bigger than anything in the flashback.

The flashback’s somewhat stronger, but opening with the reporter in a predicament makes Maia’s narration lose some impact. She’s not the most exciting thing going on this issue, which has a couple reasons for existing. It’s a bridging issue where all Hardman and Bechko have to do is hit two vista points on the bridge and they’ll be all set for something further down.

It’s fine, it’s good. It just feels very artificial, which might just be the way Republic is going to go with the flashback structuring.

Great art, of course, helps. Hardman’s future manages to be boring and scary, the flashbacks ugly and sentimental.

CREDITS

Writers, Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko; artist, Hardman; colorist, Jordan Boyd; editor, Brenda Scott Royce; publisher, Image Comics.

Invisible Republic 2 (April 2015)

Invisible Republic #2

This issue of Invisible Republic has a little too much flashback and not enough with the reporter in the present. The problem is how little the flashback stuff actually matters; sure, the girl is sympathetic, but only because she’s in an unfair situation and she has a psycho future-dictator for a cousin.

The stuff in the present is actually, if underrepresented as far as the narrative, less interesting than the flashback. The present feels too 1984-lite at times, while the stuff in the past feels like sci-fi caste system stuff. Far more interesting.

Hardman and Bechko have put a lot of thought into Invisible Republic, so much they’re clearing spinning their wheels at times to see how Hardman’s going to visualize that spinning (well, he visualizes it well). The enthusiasm gets the comic past its various bumps and it’s an engaging read.

But flashback cliffhangers are weak.

CREDITS

Writers, Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko; artist, Hardman; colorist, Jordan Boyd; publisher, Image Comics.

Invisible Republic 1 (March 2015)

Invisible Republic #1

I’m going to be cynical for a second and remember Orson Scott Card did a spin-off of his Ender’s Game novels where he told the story of the brother turned benevolent dictator. Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko’s Invisible Republic does the story of the cousin turned regular crappy dictator.

It’s not, from what I can tell (I’ve never read aforementioned spin-off novels), a knock-off. There’s a really good framing device–after the dictator’s reign falls, the press flocks to this small moon (it’s also a sci-fi story, a similarity to the Ender’s Game stuff) and the issue is this reporter’s investigation.

It gives Republic a post-WWII movie mixed with some very 1984 sci-fi visualizations, even though it’s set in the far future.

Nice dialogue from Hardman and Bechko, great art from Hardman. Republic’s familiar sounding and all, but expertly executed sci-fi comics.

CREDITS

Writers, Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko; artist, Hardman; colorist, Jordan Boyd; publisher, Image Comics.

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