Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Invisible Republic #1
Hardman, Bechko & Boyd
In a case where the solicitation accurately describes a comic book, this book is a lot like Breaking Bad. From the initial issue, it appears the book is going to chronicle a dictator named Arthur McBride’s descendent into villain status. The opening issue is a compelling read that introduces the core characters and the basic set up. This is definitely appears to be a title to watch. I enjoyed this first issue.
Normally, I am not a fan of the protagonist working in the media. Personally, I feel it’s been done to death from Superman and Spider-Man all the way down the line to DMZ. It’s overdone. However, the main character here, Croger Babb, is a journalist that seems down on his luck. He’s basically shunned by everyone that he comes across, unless they are people he already knows. He’s a loser. However, he keeps pressing nonetheless.
Luckily for Babb he finds a stack of papers from a journal. The journal chronicles the life of McBride before he was a dictator as told by his cousin Maia. Now the task is gathering up an audience to listen to what could be the find of a lifetime.
The book is equal parts current times and flashback. The current scenes are all about Babb and finding the journal. The flashback scene we get in this book is brutal and very effective as it tells one of McBride’s early and deadly encounters.
Hardman and Bechko have collaborated on a couple of works that are heavy on the character-study side (Star Legacy II and Planet of the Apes) and this comic looks to be along the same vein. The three primary characters all get equal play in this issue and all have unique strengths and areas of growth. The book has a realist vibe when it comes to the characters despite the futuristic nature of the comic book.
The book isn’t perfect. The situation with the police at the end is not entirely clear nor is the reason behind McBride’s rule referred to as the “Mallory regime.” However, the flaws are minor and could be expanded upon easily in future issues.
Hardman takes on the art duties and the book delivers the dark style he’s known to portray in his stories. The character’s features are detailed while the world they inhabit looks to be a dingy and awful place. The comic sets up the idea of a world that has seen its lumps with perfect visuals. The action sequence towards the end is particularly brutal while keeping the delicate features of Maia intact. The visuals appear to enhance this story very well.
Invisible Republic is going to be a sprawling epic story. This is the ground floor. If you are familiar with Bechko and Hardman’s work then you know what to expect. If you are not then you should be prepared for a layered story with dark visuals and complex, but strong core characters. This issue is one to pick up.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles