Written by: Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Beckho
Art by: Gabriel Harman
This was one gripping comic. I picked this up by chance based solely on Hardman’s name with absolute no prior knowledge and was absolutely blown away by the story within the pages. I don’t know if it was the lack of prior hype of if it was just that damn good, but Invisible Republic has instantly sold me on the entire series with just one issue.
The story initially seems like a very simple one, we open with a futuristic world that is quite clearly in a rough patch in terms of its history as its current leader seems to have fallen. A novelist is trying to learn what he can about the regime when he stumbles upon the diary of a mysterious woman which interests him greatly. A lot of the story’s strength comes from twists and discovering this information by yourself, so I can’t say too much more, but I was absolutely gripped by the end of the story, which sets up the series with a really strong hook.
Another great strength of this issue was its narrative and creative approach to exposition. There’s very little explained to us at the start of the story, we’re just thrown into this world and are forced to pick up what we can as we go through it. This fits very much with the novelist character as he is also trying to learn what he can about the world, therefore we very quickly understand his story as we’re trying to achieve the same goal as him. Due to this element, the world feels so much more engaging as we’re organically trying to pick up information from television and news reports rather than having a long-winded introduction that’d serve as an instant turn off. The narrative switches quite rapidly when we enter the diary story, but it’s equally effective. The narrative takes on a much more personal, human tone which gives the story an emotional core outside its world building element. Again, there’s another huge element to the story I’m trying to avoid spoiling, but by the end you find out what links the two stories, and it’s what has sold me on the series. It’s truly a unique idea that will make this a very interesting story.
What held the world together for me was Hardman’s gorgeous art style. The futuristic landscape falls more in line with the dystopian telling, with an almost Fallout style quality to it. It feels like a very real place, as if people actually live here and are scraping to get by. It’s not the most original of settings, however it’s crafted to perfection by Hardman. The concepts and creatures of this world are also revealed with perfect pacing, so despite seeming a bit slow when looking at it as a whole, while reading the story you get a great feeling of learning and discovery on every page. The ending reveal in particular is hugely affective because of the art, it’s a great moment in which the art itself shocked me rather than the text. As a guy who really values storytelling through the art in a comic, it’s an awesome scene.
Overall, this was a hugely exciting début that makes me excited to read what comes next. The less you know about Invisible Republic then the more enjoyable this début issue will be so do yourself a favour and check it out as soon as you can.