In Review: Invisible Republic #10

This is the best mature science fiction series on the market.

The cover: Looking to the left is young Maia, and to the right is a larger version of older Maia. Below the younger is Christoph, below the older is Croger and Fran. In the lower center is the linchpin of this series, Arthur McBride, and he’s carrying a pole topped by a nasty point. Great cover of the main characters from this series. It’s neat to see that McBride’s figure is artistically slashed by two streaks that cut straight down from his shoulders, showing how the character is continuing to tear people apart in two different timelines. Great cover by the great Gabriel Hardman. Overall grade: A 

The story: In the past, Maia is woken by Arthur who tells her they need to move quickly as soldiers have arrived on the farm. As they make their escape they go past the body of George Penny. In narration from diary, written long after this event, Maia states, “It didn’t occur to me until a long time later that maybe it wasn’t the soldiers who got him.” She and her cousin escape the military men because she knows which paddies are dry or flooded. They eventually exit the facility. Time moves forward a year, and Maia wants to have a private conversation with Arthur. She tells him that they need to leave Nica’s place, “This whole revolutionary ball is a farce. One of these people is going to rat you out. You’ll end up dangling from a rope.” She wants to go back to the apiaries and she wants him to go with her. He says that his path is one that must be done. She disagrees, and that’s when the building blows up. Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko certainly know hot to make a tense scene explode! Things aren’t just going poorly in the past, in the present Croger Babb is having a forced dialogue with elderly Nica, who has a proposition for him. In fact, it’s practically an offer that he can’t refuse. He does and he finds himself confronted by a hard truth that Fran has learned. He makes a startling decision that left me gasping. In the past, Maia partakes in an action that starts the conspiracy theories of her cousin. If these events haven’t left the reader’s heart speeding enough, the final panel is a jaw dropper. Now, the present is going to really explode. Overall grade: A+

The art: Gabriel Hardman’s artwork is outstanding. The first three pages of the book are a dramatic moment in Maia’s life and to make it even more frantic Hardman uses jagged panels to tell the story. Look at how the book opens, as Maia is awoken from her sleep by Arthur the panels resemble a broken mirror. There are no right angles on these pages, emphasizing the characters cannot take the straight path to escape. The second panel on the first page has an outstanding point of view as Maia wakes and Arthur glares at the reader, which is the direction the soldiers are located. On Pages 2 and 3 the settings is so dark that Arthur’s glasses are illuminated to show where his eyes are and it gives him a supernatural feel; foreshadowing how his followers will see him. A year later, the story isn’t as fast paced, so the angled panels appear. Notice how Hardman has both characters’ faces partially hidden in darkness on Page 5; both haven’t been honest with the other, and even in a conversation each is unclear to the other. The terror on Maia’s face at the bottom of 13 is understandable and the look of relief on 14 completely believable. Babb has some terrific scenes, looking absolutely stoic as he listens to Nica and as a man pushed to the breaking point on 17 – 19.  I’ve mentioned in other reviews, but it deserves repeating, the lighting effects on vehicles are incredibly cool and there are several examples of this on 15 and 20 – 22. This artwork is really gritty in a believable science fiction setting. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The first three pages, being further in the past than other pages, are colored a sickly green by Jordan Boyd. Doing so gives the reader a sensation that he or she is looking at something unnatural or wrong and it’s a good choice to give to an alien world’s evening. However, there are a few splashes of other colors on Page 2, when the body of George Penny is shown and when Maia is handed a weapon from her cousin. Giving an injection of colors in these panels highlight for the reader how important they are. This green returns within the building after it’s exploded, reinforcing how wrong the situation is. The present, focusing on Babb, is in somber grays, as if the present lacks any life or joy. When colors do appear in this timeline on 19 they are yellows and oranges, and they are elemental explosions on the page. Boyd’s colors direct readers where to look and to create a tone that’s inescapable. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Maia’s diary entries, dialogue, time transitions, computer text, sounds, and the tease for next issue are created by Simon Bowland. Having the diary entries be a different font from the dialogue is an instant visual clue to tell the reader that commentary from the future is coming into play with the present. The time transitions are very simple block letters, but dramatic enough to catch the eye. Excellent work. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This is the best mature science fiction series on the market. It should be read by anyone interested in the genre, journalism, politics, or what creates a myth. Always the highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+ 

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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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