Publisher: Image Comics
Writers: Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko
Artist: Gabriel Hardman
Colourist: Jordan Boyd
Design: Dylan Todd
Oooh, just look at that cover: living on the run, danger at every turn, wandering round a strange city, riding rubbish public transport, trying to find low paying employment and stopping off at a restaurant for a nice meal. These are the things that happen in Invisible Republic #2. Makes you wonder if one of the writers had a rubbish gap year or something. Despair not though because this is just the plotline that takes place in the past (well the future but you know what I mean) and not the plotline that takes place in the present (also the future but more future that the last one…anyone else think this might get confusing?). The plotline of the present (more future) continues the investigations of the man who was kicked out of the Scooby-doo mystery squad for having a surname that sounds too much like slang for breasts: Croger Babb.
So let’s address the plots separately then. 40 years ago in the past (but still in the future, mind), Maia and Arthur are on the run after an itty bitty triple homicide. Maia is also starting to realise that she might be travelling with someone she doesn’t know at all despite him being her cousin. Meanwhile, old Stabs McGhee himself, seems eerily calm and meek. It’s all setting the scene for Arthur’s psyche to be explored a lot more; did he kill because he thought he had to or did he want to? I envision a time when their story will enthral and excite me, a time far away from now. Yes, as much as everything seemed to hit the world’s biggest fan last week, the walls seem remarkably clean, allowing Maia and Arthur to stroll around taking in the sights. I get that tension is being built so I’ll hang around to see what happens but if they try to show me their holiday snaps in the next issue I’ll be very mad.
In the present (still the future), Babbilicious is still attempting to track down information on Maia. It is during this perilous search that he encounters a danger known only to the world of bureaucracy: forms! Yes, forms! Forms as far as the eye can see! There’s even a split panel section highlighting all the forms. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, lengthy action sequences! I must say though that I quite enjoyed it. There’s a subtly built sinister reason for all the forms and I like the idea of a regime trying to tire me into submission through tedium. Bugger Room 101, make them fill out 10 tax returns and file it appropriately before unleashing the misfiling of forms form. In between all the relentless, hardcore form action, the conspiracy part of Invisible Republic’s description (remember from last week? Of course you don’t) gets a big tick.
So the story is hunched over at the bar sipping the same pint it’s had for the last hour but what about art? Well I’m glad to report no real decline in art. Not much else to say really. It’s very well drawn. Sure, it’s not the most imaginative art I’ve ever seen; there’s no inventive panelling, the lettering is fine, colours are well chosen and my favourite colour is beige. It’s all wearing a sensible sweater and trouser combination. Sure, you wish it would rip off the sweater to reveal lacy lingerie and vibrating tassels but this art isn’t your previous art and Mother was right: she was no good for you!
Overall a very middle of the road entry to the series but I feel it has to be. It’s holding up all the traffic on the road too but I get the impression that’s because there’s a huge pile up ahead. We know that Arthur becomes a dictator and I do enjoy watching a good rise to power. Perhaps, it’s something to do with my short stature and Napoleon Complex or perhaps I just like the Machiavellian back-stabbery that usually accompanies such ascensions. I know Babb the builder is just a plot device to show this to me but I find his exploration of the world interesting too. Jesus, I’m in a pretty generous mood and maybe that will spare you all in my coming purge? Maybe.