Independently Well Done highlights completed and/or noteworthy story-arcs published by indie and small press creators.
Written By: Pail Jenkins
Art By: Andy Clarke
Published: July 20, 2016 by Aftershock Comics
One of the things that I think transcends culture is the feeling of running out of time, not in the mortal sense, but in the realm of doing things. Each and everyday I sit down to write. Some days I need to organize the coming week, others require planning and forethought, while some require time to read through and research things. Each and everyday, not matter what I do, time keeps pressing forward. Isn’t that a lovely thought? Nothing like a super deep and depressing opening to a comic post. Well, I bring all that up because it begs the question, what if you could add more time to your day without feeling the effects? Imagine that for a second, being able to do three, four days worth of work in the same amount of time as one day takes now. Who wouldn’t want that? Well, that was the idea behind one of the most fun and entertaining comics I’ve read this year. Replica, by Paul Jenkins and Andy Clarke, published by Aftershock Comics, showed the comic world that this brand new publisher in the industry was bringing the best comics could offer.
What we have in Replica is a series about a man with a shortage of time to get his work done. Trevor Carter is a peacekeeping agent (think space cop) stationed on an intergalactic space hub known as the Transfer, wherein thousands of different alien species commute, converse, and convene for business. It’s the greatest melting pot in the galaxy, and it’s Carter’s job to keep the peace. You can imagine the difficulty in doing such a thing. I mean we’re talking about thousands of aliens with their own laws and rules of conduct all meeting up for various reasons. There’s no way around it, that’s the perfect mixture for trouble. Now, when you add in that the Transfer is also inhabited by a robotic race that has quarantined off their own section, and murders anyone who crosses into their territory, you realize that under no circumstance do you want Trevor Carter’s job. Well guess what, neither does he.
What’s a guy to do when you have more things to do in a day than it has minutes to do them in? Well, our boy Carter decides replication is probably the best answer. That’s right, with so much to do in any given day, Trevor Carter resorts to cloning in order to fix his problems. What could go wrong? How about a glitch in the cloning process that leads to their being fifty versions of himself, and while that might sound like a blessing, it turns out that each clone gets a small portion of Carter’s own personality. So, you know that grunge or gothic phase you went through as a kid, or years when you hated exercise and weighed three-hundred and fifty pounds? Well now imagine those versions of your personality suddenly popping into existence, and it’s your responsibility to take care of them all. This is the foundation of what Replica is about, however, what sprouts forth from this idea is one of the most comical and entertaining books to have hit the shelves this year.
Once the problem of the cloning fiasco sorts itself out, about three-quarters of a second later, a rather notable person in the galaxy ends up being murdered, right in public, smack in the middle of the Transfer. Unfortunately, even though this happened in plain view of everyone around, no one actually saw anything…thus the mystery reveals itself. It’s now up to Carter, his team of deputies, and his forty-nine weird freaking clones to solve this crime. Over the course of five issues we follow Carter and his team of misfits and clones as they delve into a deep rabbit hole wherein many unseemly characters reveal themselves, and a far bigger plot than a simple murder ends up taking this group, and the readers, for a ride around the Transfer no one expected.
Now, that’s the big picture synopsis of what takes place, what I haven’t mentioned yet is just how fun this book is, how great the art work is done, and how the overall pacing and storytelling really deliver on one of my favorite books of this year. I hadn’t read anything Andy Clarke had drawn before this book, but what I do know, now that I’ve seen what he can do, is that I’ll be picking up books with his name on it for sure. The way he delivers each page managed to drive home the ever progressing mystery, while also delivering visually the comedic tone of the entire run. Each issue had some comical undertone, and Clarke managed to bring the visuals in such an impactful and fun way that it enhanced Jenkins stellar writing to new levels.
In my opinion, buying this series is a no-brainer when it comes to buying it. I was on this train the moment issue one hit the shelves back in December of 2015, and the fact that Volume #1, collecting this entire arc, hit stores recently means that anyone who’s interested can now plow through these pages and enjoy the entire story as it was meant to be told. This book is a must have for anyone looking for great storytelling, fantastic art, and a breakout series that launched Aftershock into the public eye. Seriously, go buy this book.