Writer – Gabriel Hardman, Corinna Bechko
Artist – Gabriel Hardman
Colours – Jordan Boyd
The latest issue of Invisible Republic picks right back up in the middle of the action as Kroger Babb and Fran Woronov, who had been visiting the secret hideout of Maia Reveron, find themselves under attack. As the book flashes back to the past, we see that the events that play out have a direct bearing on our protagonists’ current predicament and it all has to do with Maia. The story about the rise and fall of a man and his kingdom he carved out for himself continues courtesy of Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman and it does so with one of the most action-packed issues to date. It seems that even though Arthur McBride and his Mallory Regime is no longer around and Maia has been out of commission for many years, memory is long and an enemy , once an ally, comes calling in the hopes of putting Maia down for good. Though it was only momentary, Kroger Babb steps up and fights back, more than likely for fear of his life, but whatever the case, it was nice to see him do something other than cower. As always, the story is utterly compelling and the way the book segues between the past and the present is done expertly, always perfectly timed so that events between the time periods are reflected in each other. Hardman’s artwork is as good as ever and if possible, continues to get better and better with every book. For now, though the series has been paced out quite well, you want it to reveal a lot more of its secrets a lot faster as you cannot wait to see how everything happened in the past to affect the future as it has. One of the biggest questions that still needs answering and one that will probably not be addressed for some time is just how did Arthur McBride fall from grace and why did it cause Maia to go into hiding. It nags at you with every issue as it may be the biggest mystery of all, but for now, the book keeps you roped in tight and as it is so good, you are content to wait even though it drives you a little mad. Continually enjoyable, Invisible Republic needs to be on your pull list.
4 out of 5
Writer – James Robinson
Artist – Marc Laming, Jose Giles
Colours – Jordan Boyd, Veronica Gandini
Letters – VC’s Clayton Cowles
Although it is only two issues in, The Uncanny Avengers gains an annual and it deals with a group of magic users who go by the moniker, the Department of the Uncanny. Led by Dakor the Detective Magician with the rest of the team made up of Agatha Harkness, The Ghost Dancer and The Emerald Warlock, they are tasked with taking down Hilda Von Hate, She-Witch of the S.S. Taking place during World War II, the story finds our heroes teaming up with Captain America, the Jeffrey Mace version, and the Whizzer, not to mention some of America’s finest. The book then cuts to the present after the team is successful, with the evil they thought they had defeated, seemingly returned. This book represents some of James Robinson’s finest writing since his return to Marvel and gives us some new characters to get invested in as well as a major new villain whose story will continue in the ongoing Scarlet Witch series. The book is a lot of fun and features a lot of action as our heroes go to battle in different time periods. Nice to see is James Robinson paying a little homage to cult film Ilsa, She-Wolf of the S.S. with the introduction of Hilda Von Hate. Though the film is not for all-ages, this comic definitely is and Robinson seems to be having a lot of fun with these characters and it is hopeful that it will translate well into the other series which he will be scribing. Marc Laming and Jose Giles deliver some great artwork and there are some really fantastic scenes in the book, whether it is our magical team sitting around a table or the Emerald Warlock engaged in battle. At the moment, this Department of the Uncanny is a far more interesting team than the current roster of the Uncanny Avengers and it would be nice to see a present day version of the group, or at the very least, a miniseries featuring them. Another thing that this issue does, in association with Dr. Strange and the Scarlet Witch books is show that magic is back in the Marvel Universe and is startig to play a bigger role than it has in years. For an annual, a book that usually features a throwaway story, this one mattered and was highly entertaining to read. Definitely worth your hard-earned money.
4 out of 5