Invisible Kingdom #1 Review: A Cosmic Tale with a Terrestrial Message

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INVISIBLE KINGDOM #1 Written by G. Willow Wilson, Art by Christian Ward

Synopsis:

Set in a far-flung star system, this new epic sci-fi monthly saga tells the tale of two women–a young religious acolyte and a hard-bitten freighter pilot–who separately uncover a vast conspiracy between the leader of the system’s dominant religion and the mega-corporation that controls society. On the run from reprisals on both sides, this unlikely pair of rebels risk plunging the world into anarchy if they reveal the truth.

But when your beliefs betray you, what choice is there left?

By Hugo Award-winning writer G. Willow Wilson (WONDER WOMAN, MS. MARVEL) and Eisner Award-winning artist Christian Ward (BLACK BOLT, ODY-C).

Thanks to Dark Horse Comics & Berger Books for providing a copy of Invisible Kingdom #1 for review.

I know what you’re probably thinking, another science fiction comic in space with lots of aliens? A couple of the early panels did bring the skyscapes of SAGA to mind, but there is so much originality in these pages! If you have a love for the aesthetic of Saga, you will have a great time just looking through the pages of Invisible Kingdom. Even better than that, the storyline will challenge preconceived notions of character & gender tropes.

One of my favorite aspects of this comic is the character design. Many of the characters read as almost gender neutral, though it’s apparent that the role of gender will have important implications for some storylines. There is one particular character who belongs to a race with 4+ different sexes. This fact did not cloud the purpose of that character’s narrative arc, and it’s somewhat unclear what the role of sexual and or gender identity will be. What is clear is that there are some very strong stereotypes and suppositions about sexuality among these alien races that will come into play. The Captain, Grix, is very androgynous and I can’t wait to see more from her.

The art in Invisible Kingdom was a big hit or miss for me. Character faces are a bit muddy in some panels, and there is a section where several characters wear air helmets that distort their features. I found it difficult to determine who was speaking because of that, but in general I really enjoy the character designs. The clothing and uniforms are highly detailed, and add a lot to the androgynous nature of the characters. The skyscapes and buildings were also beautifully done, and I look forward to seeing more wide angle panels.

Character driven stories always tend to be my favorites, and I believe character choices will be the driving force in Invisible Kingdom. There is more to the story that I’m excited to learn more about as well. There is a major religious order that has some correlations to Catholicism. People willingly reject consumerism and material possessions to live their lives in service to the church, known as the Invisible Kingdom. I’m an atheist and I’ve had some negative experiences with organized religion, so stories like this fascinate me. Any time a plot line tries to instill characters with doubt about a fictional religious system, I am into it. Conspiracy and corruption of the Invisible Kingdom seem like they will be major themes of the larger story.

The comic scene is loaded with science fiction stories which can make it difficult to know which books to pick up next. I definitely recommend giving Invisible Kingdom #1 a shot if you are a fan of stories that don’t back away from heavy themes.

Look for the first issue at your local comic book shop on March 20, 2019

You can follow me on Twitter @SamanthaMaybe and Instagram at sammaybereading for some of my other reviews.

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