Maia and Arthur come face to face over a betrayal of trust and Croger Babb fights for his life. It’s basically a normal week for these characters. Read on for our spoiler free review of “Invisible Republic” #3.
Written by Corrina Bechko & Gabriel Hardman
Illustrated Gabriel Hardman
Arthur McBride discovers Maia’s secret…and her act of compassion could get them both killed.
I’ve been really vocal about how much I’m enjoying “Invisible Republic” by Gabriel Hardman, Corrina Bechko and Jordan Boyd. This is a “poli sci fi” (as the team describes it) story that I’ve never experienced in comics before. The two timelines are unfolding quite nicely and even though “Invisible Republic” #3 is a quick read, it’s the most exciting issue of the very young series.
“Invisible Republic” tells the story of dictator Arthur McBride’s rise to power through the eyes of his cousin Maia Reveron. Her journal is discovered 42 years later by writer Croger Babb who decides to not only read it but eventually publish something about it. “Invisible Republic” #3 picks up right after Arthur’s face is plastered all over the news. He and Maia have a very tense showdown because he now knows that she let one of the soldiers live and that soldier didn’t mention her when she told the world what happened. Arthur feels betrayed and takes a fairly shocking action against her. Croger, years later, is fighting for his life – literally. Last we saw him, he was dangling by his fingers from a balcony thanks to Maia’s journal. A group of people want it and he obviously isn’t letting it go.
The thing about the two timelines in “Invisible Republic” is that they don’t mirror each other and they don’t intersect (presumably). Hardman and Bechko are writing two very distinct stories with their own twists, turns and voices. This balancing act is not easy, but this team is pulling it off very well. “Invisible Republic” is very much a slow burn, but it has to be; we, the readers, need to see how this man rises from nothing to becoming one of the most powerful men ever. That is done through the examination of every decision he makes. They all have consequences at some point. I think of Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli”s “DMZ” when I read this series because in “DMZ”, things Matty did in the first few issues played a part in how all of it ended. The same goes for Brian K. Vaughn and Tony Harris’ “Ex Machina,” as every action Mitchell Hundred took mattered. This is the way of politics, and it’s great that Bechko and Hardman are tapping into the more intricate parts of a rising political power.
Maia is a character that I have felt a little unconnected to despite her being the clear protagonist. Her voice carries the series, since this is her telling us and Croger the story of what happened all those years ago. However, I don’t feel like I know well enough and that’s bugged me the last two issues. Maia in this issue has more bite and her personality becomes more visible. She’s not going to be a pushover, thankfully, as she does challenge Arthur when he gets in her face about what happened. Hardman and Bechko are creating a heroine that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. The way this issue ends opens up some really interesting possibilities for her that I won’t get too deep into for risk of spoilers. I like how we’re getting to know her better while she still retains a little bit of mystery. We basically know the broad ending; Arthur falls. But what about Maia? “Invisible Republic” is great for that mystery and why it deserves your attention.
“Invisible Republic” also boasts really fine artwork by Gabriel Hardman and colorist Jordan Boyd. Hardman has a lot of experience working on storyboards for movies so it comes at no surprise that “Invisible Republic” feels more cinematic than anything else happening in comics. From the first page with Croger hanging on for dear life, you’re transported into a different world. Hardman focuses on the faces, Croger’s with true fear and his enemy with malice in his eyes. He uses the best angles to convey the height Croger may fall from. The panel layout is even on an angle to add that feeling of vertigo. In the quieter moments, like people simply talking, there’s still this sense of movement. Hardman draws hair like it’s blowing in the breeze but it comes off naturally and not exaggerated. The facial expressions are varied and always fit the scene properly. There’s another scene later in the issue where an aircraft is delivering supplies and Hardman perfectly gives the page that feeling when a helicopter lands and it blows everything away with its propeller. It’s these little things that make this book such a treat to look at.Continued below
Jordan Boyd’s colors bring this all together as he switches between two different color palettes differentiating the past from the future. It’s a strict set of colors but the panels don’t come off washed out or too muted. Things like clothing, jewelry, backpacks, and background sets do have distinctive tones. Even better, the print version of this issue has a breakdown of how he approaches the coloring so I suggest reading that, because quite frankly, he does a better job explaining it than I could. Boyd is one of the best up and coming colorists that should and will hopefully be getting more attention this year for his work on this series.
“Invisible Republic” #3 is full of action but doesn’t move the plot along too much. It’s like a chess game and all the pieces are in places. As the arc begins to wind down, I expect a lot to go down. This is quietly becoming one of the best series Image is putting out monthly.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – “Invisible Republic” continues to be a refreshing addition to the science fiction genre.