In Review: Replica #2

One minute you're laughing, the next you're gasping at what's occurred. Absolutely recommended.

The cover: Some things won’t change in the future, according to this cover by Andy Clarke and Marcelo Maiolo. A stall in the men’s room has clone Number Two, or Roger as he prefers, is sitting down and reaching for the roll of the toilet paper that’s fallen through the gap between the door and the floor. On the wooden door is the graffiti one would expect, though since this is the future there’s a few words or phrases that are going to be alien. A funny cover of a moment not often shown in comic books, with the issue’s focus, Number Two, being on the stall door. My favorite bit of tagging is the dent in the door with an arrow that states “Vorgas Was Here.” Overall grade: A

The story: Number Two is the paperwork clone. But not just that, he’s the one who gets stuck with all the stupid, boring, worthless details assigned to him by Detective Trevor Carter. Today, Number Two is going to be involved in something very different. At the end of last issue the K’tarian ambassador was murdered. Number Two — Roger — is ordered by Trevor to see who broke through the security systems to commit the crime, but Roger tells him that it’s not possible for the security systems to fail, so it had to be an inside job. No one listens to him. Robot Veet then makes the same suggestion and Trevor listens. Leaving the crime scene, Trevor assigns Roger the paperwork to fill out. Clones 4 and 6 are also at the scene of the crime, and ask Roger for guidance on what to do. His directions are the correct choices, showing the reader he might be smarter than what Trevor thinks. As a crowd forms around the body, Ambassador Brr’vil of the Ghnn’dar arrives stating that Queen Kya Nagila wishes to meet with Trevor, though Number Two will do, to give relevant information to the case. Number Two goes and something very unexpected occurs. Paul Jenkins continues to make this one of the best science fiction comics on the market. The story is cool, with sinister aliens keeping secrets (Pages 8 and 9), and funny, with other aliens being hilarious (13 – 15). There’s a good action sequence to keep the mystery going, with something completely unexpected at the bottom of 19. Pages 20 started with me absolutely shocked and then I had a good laugh with the story’s final dialogue. Overall grade: A+ 

The art: Andy Clarke’s art is incredibly strong. He’s created an wondrous science fiction environment populated with a wide variety of aliens, robots, and tools that give me exactly what I want from this genre. His humans, which are populated by the Trevor and his clones, look awesome: they all have the same face, but there are slight to major changes in their clothes to make them stand out, apart from the numbers on their foreheads. Roger looks exactly like someone stuck in a bureaucracy, complete with white shirt, skinny tie, and pocket protector full of writing utensils. His three panel introduction on the first page visually sets his personality for the reader. Clarke also gets some terrific emotion out of his characters, with Trevor looking intense and frustrated in the classic detective mode, while Roger looks flabbergasted at every challenge that comes his way; he looks especially good on Pages 2 – 6. The design of the ambassador on 4 and 5 is great, while the Queen’s design was as unexpected as her words. 8 and 9 is a quick interrogation scene and it looks great, with both characters staring the other down. Another unexpected design was the look of the Vinyiese Conglomerate — they were sensational and the mustache pushed them into the stratosphere for me. Pages 16 – 19 constitute and action sequence and Clarke pulls it off exceptionally well, considering a moving car is involved at one point. I repeat, Andy Clarke’s art is incredibly strong. Overall grade: A+   

The colors: Also strong are the colors by Dan Brown. Most modern science fiction tales, if they’re not a franchise, are dark and gloomy. Brown doesn’t do that in Replica. The colors on this book varied, with a welcome number of bright spots to counter the dark. Roger’s first appearance has narration in a hair matching pink, giving a visual clue to the reader that this will not be an ordinary tale. The yellow that surrounds the crime scene is a perfect electric yellow, while the blood spilled is pure crimson. The ambassador has organic greens and oranges, while the queen is an inviting yellow. Gar’el and those of the Scarlet Empire are frightful in a smoldering red. Colors are absolutely essential to the story at the bottom of 19 which caused me to gasp. Sounds also have the perfect colors, whether they be gunfire or the Jul’danian ambassador’s words. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Narration and dialogue (the same font), Veet speech, the Jul’danian ambassador’s words, sounds, and the tease for next issue come to life from Clayton Cowles. I like the dissimilar way Veet and the ambassador communicate, separating them from most bipeds and the sounds are as good as anything on film in the action sequence, though I do wish that the narration and dialogue were a different font, as they are two different forms of communication, rather than be differentiated by the shape and color of the dialogue balloon. Overall grade: A-

The final line: One minute you’re laughing, the next you’re gasping at what’s occurred. I am in love with Replica. Thrills and laughs with amazing visuals. Absolutely recommended. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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