Repo #1-2

Written by Rick Spears
Art by Rob G
28 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

In stories set in the future, there are always some things that seem to carry forward from the present day. There’s still crime. There’s still greed. There’s still theft. So under the circumstances, it also makes sense that there would still be repo men, who come to take back what you have either defaulted on paying for, or never owned in the first place. The only real difference, I guess, is what you’re trying to repossess.

Gwai-Lo and KD are repo men, bringing in people, possessions, you name it. So long as they get paid, they’re on the job. Meanwhile, the Clone Liberation Army is blowing up cars, fighting for the rights of cloned people to be considered actual humans. There’s a runaway clone of a very important man being shielded by the CLA, with a big bounty on his head. And Gwai-Lo’s ex-girlfriend and her partner are also on the case to get the handsome reward of bringing him in first. Of course, everyone first has to get through the rest of the world before they can get to the clone, and in the future of Repo, that’s no easy task.

Rick Spears’s story in Repo is, to put it mildly, over the top and crazy. Everything is a cliche taken to its next level, from the wise-cracking-yet-sage older vet, to the gunning down of innocents in the street by the government to try and hit a target, to the gay militia called the Pink Panthers. It’s lunacy, yet at the same time controlled, bringing to mind satire like Frank Miller’s scripts in Give Me Liberty. Early on in the second issue, as one bad guy explains exactly what’s going on, he suddenly stops and says, “But this is all exposition. I want action.” It’s a sly nod to the reader, an acknowledgement that it knows what most of its readers are there for. That, of course, is the craziness in the form of explosions and raids and car chases and larger-than-life enemies. The word “subtlety” can’t be found in Repo, but it’s very unapologetic about that fact. It knows that it’s being silly, it revels in it, and it doesn’t ever really stop moving.

Rob G’s art is just like Spears’s script, in that it’s fast paced and refusing to slow down for anyone. You actually get a sensation of a fast pace when reading the book thanks to the art doing a good job of depicting car crashes and exploding bombs. Oh, and apparently someone had speed lines on sale and Rob G bought them all. I actually felt a little dizzy by the time I was done reading Repo. Unfortunately some of the people in Repo don’t seem to have weathered the fast ride too well. Faces often look sparse at best, and misshapen at worse. It’s frustrating because on one page the characters all look really well formed and carefully drawn, only to have you turn the page and it feels like Rob G ran out of time. A little more consistency would be a great thing for Repo.

Repo is by no means a work for the ages, but it is a lot of fun. It’s the sort of book that lets you switch off your brain, shift into high gear, and just go for the ride. And on that level, it gets exactly what it’s trying for. With three more issues to go, I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on the rest of this out-of-control chase if only to see where it ends. So far, so good.

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