In Review: Replica #4

Replica is a comic you should not be missing. Highest possible recommendation.

The cover: Clone number Four has just made his swing and yells out the traditional warning in golf. Naturally the man who started this mess, Detective Trevor Churchill, is in the wrong place at the wrong time and is about to get hit in the head from the speeding orb. This is another fun way to introduce the next consecutive clone on the cover, with Trevor in jeopardy and his peers dressed in golf garb watching the impending collision. Andy Clarke and Dan Brown have knocked it out of the park with this one. That’s the wrong sports metaphor, but who cares? This is funny and cool. Overall grade: A+

The story: After last issue’s assassination attempt, Trevor has assembled all his clones to find out which one of them tried to kill him. All of his copies look at him with contempt and respond in hilarious fashion. Number Two gets up to tell everyone what their assignment is for the day. This includes a really funny bit of dialogue in the third and fourth panel on Page 3, which has me eager to see what writer Paul Jenkins has in store for issue eight of this series. The murder of the K’tarian emissary comes up next and Two calls gives the floor to Four who is greeted with thunderous applause from all, except Trevor who just scowls. Before he begins with what he’s learned, he gives a few shout outs to the others, which only infuriates Trevor’s further. Some overtime is needed to work on the case and the room has a majority volunteer, leaving Trevor to mutter, “Oh, sure…Volunteer for him—” Before going off on his investigations, Trevor has two pages with a fun character who makes some revelations he didn’t need to hear. After this funny and telling sequence, Trevor and Vorgas speak with a race new to the series and new clues are given and something major is revealed. I am completely taken by the characters that Jenkins has created and the aliens that are encountered. This is badass and funny. I’m also continually impressed with his ability to create a good mystery and maintain the tension and humor of Trevor and his fifty clones. This is godhead storytelling. Overall grade: A+

The art: Andy Clarke’s work is superior. The first page shows his expertise, as it begins with an intense close-up of Trevor, pulling back to show his non-clone peers, until switching the point of view to show the gang that he’s addressing. Each clone resembles Trevor, but has enough tweaking in the way they carry themselves and their garb to make each unique. The next four pages are in a briefing room and Clark is able to continually move his point of view around to make this scene visually exciting. I laughed out loud at the third panel on Page 2, the fourth and seventh on 3, and the first six on 4. The visuals for these panels magnify the humor of the text tremendously. Once on the streets, the aliens and their environments that Clarke draws are some of the best I’ve ever seen. I want – need – to see otherworldly things, something I’ve never seen before. Clarke goes above and beyond my expectations with the Mzultch. Everything with them is fantastic, and I can’t go into more detail without spoiling the story or the visuals. Number Four, with his deerstalker hat, is terrific looking as the “perfect” clone, and his interview with another alien species is equally fantastic. I especially love the curl of the lip of the alien in the second panel on Page 15. The final four pages have a shocking incident occur and Clarke’s vision of it is perfection. That word sums up Clarke’s work precisely – perfection. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Making Clarke’s work pop is Dan Brown doing the colors. Colors are key in the opening scene in the meeting room, which is colored in, sadly realistic, blasé browns. The colors of the clones’ clothing and their hair make them stand out in the scene and become focuses. Brown is also talented enough to make the background help tell the story: take a look at the last panel on Page 3 – notice how once the background color is at an even line with Trevor’s eyes the colors go dark to match his mood, showing the reader how unhappy the protagonist is. Clarke really excels with the Mzultch and the final four pages. It’s every shade I would want the scenes to be. His work is beautiful and horrific. Also perfection. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Clayton Cowles is responsible for dialogue, scene settings, narration, sounds, the fantastic font of the Mzultch, the unreadable font of the K’tarians, and the tease for next issue. When alien species get their own unique font as they speak it only increases their alien-ness and makes them outstanding characters. It also makes the book additionally pleasing visually. Cowles is acing all that he does. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This is the best science fiction comic available. Fun, cool, mysterious, horrific, and just badass. Replica is a comic you should not be missing. Highest possible recommendation. 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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