In Review: Replica #3

You can't consider yourself a fan of comics unless you're reading Replica.

The cover: Detective Trevor Churchill sit in the middle of a large bed with red, velvet sheets. To his right is one of his clones, Three — who’s as hippy-dippy as one can get, and to his left is Vorgas, clutching a teddy bear. On the sheets are several empty beer bottles and cans, boxes of take out, a cellphone, and a bong. The look on Churchill’s face tells readers he hasn’t the slightest idea how he ended up in this situation, which is probably something that runs through his head all the time. A funny cover from artist Andy Clarke and colorist Marcelo Maiolo that introduces readers to Three. Overall grade: A

The story: Churchill is not having a good day: he’s lost a prime witness in an interstellar case, Two, a.k.a. “Roger”, is acting really weird, and Three is trying to keep his buzz going, while Vorgas is eating a lot of edibles that Three had in a ziploc bag. He’s visiting his stoner clone because Three is his forensics expert, but Three would rather spend his time not acting like a square. Frustrated, Churchill throws the paperwork at Three and storms out of his office, with Roger close behind, while Vorgas wonders if anyone else sees the fish in front of him. The detective bemoans Three’s behavior, while Roger tells him that since all the clones are divergent aspects of him “Maybe one part of your personality is a slacker.” This stops Trevor in his tracks and he points at clone doing “something” and cries how that clone could be an aspect of his personality. His anger momentarily vented, he and Roger ponder their next move, which has Two admitting to a “mix-up.” Every page of Paul Jenkins’s story is like a gift, there’s always something to smile or laugh about, yet he’s also telling a really good mystery. Page 9 has Churchill figuring out a possible motive for the crime and taking a risk with Twelve. That risk has repercussions on 14 that explode in a major way. I wasn’t surprised by this issue’s cliffhanger, given the nature of this series, but am looking forward to seeing what happens next, and which clone will get a bit of the spotlight next. Overall grade: A+

The art: There aren’t enough adjectives in the universe to describe how pleasing Andy Clarke’s artwork is. His humans (or is that “human” since there’s only one that’s been cloned several times over) look fantastic. Without even reading the text (but why would you do that?), one can get the gist of what’s going on because the characters’ emotions are perfectly rendered and their body language perfection. The simmering hate on Trevor’s face as he’s dealing with the stoner clone and the stoned alien is believable and hilarious. The slight, and sometimes major, changes in each clone’s design. They could be thin, heavy, deformed, clothed differently, or the hair is styled in some unique way. Each clone does have a number on his forehead for identification, but Clarke has differentiated each so well, that the number is often unnecessary, even from a distance. A pair of aliens from the previous issue make a return on Page 8, and they look outstanding, with a bit of silent communication at the bottom of the page really funny, and an action at the end of 10 just awesome. Clarke’s settings are also amazing to look at, be it police headquarters, alien ambassadors’ residences, or an undisclosed location where the characters shouldn’t be. There’s also a really incredible action sequence on the final six pages: things are flying about, characters are running and shooting, and energy is going everywhere. This is big stuff that would be a budget buster in a film, but all the chaos that ensues is realistically created by Clarke. The visuals on this book must be the envy of other titles. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Terrific coloring on every page and in every panel from Dan Brown. Trevor and his clones are instant standouts due to their violet-green hair, but the shading on their faces also looks good; take a gander at all the shadow work he does on the characters, especially on the opening pages. Vorgas is wonderful in different shades of orange, with his hand being an instant item of focus as the alien looks at it in wonder throughout this book. The greens on Pages 6 and 7 are really good, being used for an alien environment and for some futuristic tech. A blood orange appears on the next three pages for the interior of another alien’s setting. Teal closes out the issue strongly, as it is used for the energy and destruction that appears. Attention must also be given to the hot pink that Brown uses in the opening to distinguish Churchill’s dialogue from his narration. This is good work. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Narration and dialogue (the same font), yells, a whisper, scene settings, sounds, Veet’s speech, a song, and the tease for next issue come to life from Clayton Cowles. I do wish the narration and the dialogue were differentiated by their font and not the coloring or shape of the balloons, but this quibble only occurs on the first page; the rest of the book is fine. Overall grade: A 

The final line: You can’t consider yourself a fan of comics unless you’re reading Replica. Action and humor with incredible art. Definitely 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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