In Review: Replica #5

The characters are outstanding and the visuals are superb. Highest possible recommendation.

The cover: This is not a lineup of the usual suspects. Clone number five is about to take a photograph of, from left to right, Trevor Churchill, Clone number two, Clone number four, and Clone number fourteen. It’s one thing to be in a lineup, it’s another to be so completely naked. Because of this, some “things” have been censored to protect readers: Churchill’s middle finger, and his, four, and fourteen’s junk. This is another fun cover from Andy Clarke & Dan Brown, with each individual showing their personality to the reader: Churchill is ticked, two is embarrassed, four is smiling, and fourteen enjoys a donut. Clone five, who’s the spotlighted clone, is teased with only the back of his head shown. Hello, John Merrick. Overall grade: A+

The story: “Five Naughty Monkeys” by Paul Jenkins opens with Clone five walking through the office accompanied by narration from Trevor, who reminds readers that cloning is not a perfect science, as five’s visage demonstrates. He passes two other clones who ask him a question, which he answers perfectly, but they demean him by calling him Quasi, short for Quasimodo. He makes his way to the holding cells where Trevor, two, four, and Vorgas are being held after last issue’s fiasco. He gets them out, telling them that the Scarlet “manipulate a situation, then change their planetary laws to accommodate their ambitions,” rendering them legal in their actions, no matter how wrong they seem. Things become complicated when the Scarlet are in the next room, for “direct confrontation.” Vorgas eagerly wants this, but it’s not what he expected. Thankfully, five is able to stop the situation from getting worse, allowing Trevor and the others out for more trouble. The scheme that Trevor has come up with is fantastic, and the necessity for their lack of clothing for the caper is absolutely twisted genius. Watching this plan take an unexpected turn on 16 was absolutely horrific. The book ends with readers left hanging, though I’m extremely reticent to use the word hanging. Jenkins can do no wrong. Overall grade: A+

The art: It’s impossible not to laugh while reading this book because of the visual humor that Andy Clarke is able to create. Often this humor is accomplished without dialogue and involves one character reacting to another, such as at the bottom of Pages 3 and 16. When text is in the panel, the personality Clarke invests in these characters is magic (the second and sixth panels on 7). Before the sausage fest of this issue begins, the plot contains several scenes of characters standing in rooms, talking. These are visually arresting scenes. The two pages where the Scarlet confront Trevor and his clones is set up so well, with the reader being taken around and close to the characters as if one were in an perfectly directed movie. The close up of one character on 6 is dramatic punch that was needed to happen to allow the power of one character to come through, and boy does it! The assumptions I had made about this character vanished with the combination of the visual and the text. The laughs brought on by the naked characters are still making me chuckle. Clarke is skilled enough not to have anyone’s “meat and two veg” out on display, and the characters’ reactions to being nude enhances their personalities considerably. This book continues to look awesome. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Beautiful work on this book from Dan Brown. The book opens in the flat colors of an office, but it’s narrated by Trevor. Brown gives Trevor’s narration balloons a hot pink, which matches his hair, and this has the narration capture the reader’s eye instantly. Aliens in this book are brightly colored, but never to the point where it’s like an 1980’s music video; their shades are beautiful, whether it be Vorgas’s fantastic oranges, the Scarlets’ burnt rose, or the bone colored hues of one of my favorite alien creations of all time. At one point electronic binoculars are used and their view is a really slick use of greens that make the moment so much more real. The oranges and yellows on 16 also deserve a special shout out. Heck, Dan Brown deserves a major shout out. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Narration and dialogue (the same font), scene settings, robot utterances, sounds, screams, and the unique font of a unique species comprise Clayton Cowles’s contributions to this issue. I do prefer a different font for narration and dialogue, but since that text only appears on the first page and is the only text on that page, I can let that go. I am always so pleased to see robots and aliens getting their own unique font, and the more bizarre the species, the more bizarre the font, and Cowles certainly does that here. The sounds are also top notch, with Page 16 being a great example. Cowles is acing this book. Overall grade: A+

The final line: The characters are outstanding and the visuals are superb. Mixed with outstanding plot twists and wonderful wiseass lines, this is the series everyone should be reading. 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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