Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Andy Clarke
Release Date: 6th January 2016
Replica may well be on its way to becoming my favourite current title. The first issue was so good; not only was the story engaging and interesting, but the writing is funny. With any new series the first issue is the hook, but the second part has to do enough to keep you interested. Most of the time the second episode of a successful series tends to be good enough to keep you watching or reading, but can be generally unremarkable as a whole. This is not the case here as Replica number 2 is brilliant.
Paul Jenkins develops (clone) Number 2 in this issue as the overworked, undervalued guy that just wants to be recognised (please, call me Roger, I’m in the process of legally changing my name). We are also introduced to some new clones, Number 4 who dresses up like Sherlock Holmes, and Number 6 who carries a ton of gadgets and is the technical/forensics guy (I’m assuming – he looks like a bit like a Ghostbuster). Honestly, you can’t make this up, and it looks like Paul is just going to get more and more outlandish with each new clone. The star of the show, without question, isn’t a clone: it’s the dim-witted Lieutenant Vorgas. He’s so going to become your favourite character, and the dynamic between Trevor and Vorgas is absolutely fantastic. I say dynamic, but it’s mostly Trevor calling him an idiot, and it never gets tired.
We also get introduced to some more races of The Transfer. The Scarlett Empire are clearly the antagonists of the story and seem arrogant and powerful. The Jul’dan are a jellyfish-like race that live in glass jars, one hilariously tries to confess to the murder being investigated all through the issue before being taken into Witness protection. There are The Fornik, a giant humanoid race to which Number Two sort of becomes an ambassador (and believe me, he’s not complaining). Finally there is the Vinyiese Conglomerate who basically are the organised crime syndicate on The Transfer and act as Information Brokers. Each new race is both distinct and quirky and is testament to Jenkins skill at creating a rich and diverse world in which his story resides.
Andy Clarke’s art continues in strength as he brings to life multiple alien races, each distinct in appearance and complete in execution. The panelling in issue 2 is less compact than in the debut, but this only serves to letting Andy flex his artistic muscles as each page, each panel is filled with the wonderfully diverse population of The Transit. Dan Browns colours bring Clarkes art to life, it took me a while to figure it out, but I think it’s the fact that there is minimal blocks of black and white in the comic – and consequently so much colour everywhere that it really adds to the sense of solidity to the world. Colour defines everything, rather than light and shadow, and this helps with the vibrancy and wit of the story.
I think this issue of Replica cements its status as Aftershock’s premier title. It’s likeable, vibrant and interesting. Not only is the story shaping up to look like a great whodunnit, the synergy between Andy Jenkin’s script, Andy Clarke’s art and, indeed, Dan Brown’s colours really make the humour of this story pop, and it works time and again. Each joke lands and is damn funny, which is such a difficult thing to pull off in this medium. I honestly can’t recommend Replica highly enough.
The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.