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  • Words: Szymon Kudranski
  • Art: Szymon Kudranski
  • Inks: Szymon Kudranski
  • Story Title: Repulse
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $6.99
  • Release Date: Jul 13, 2011

Thanks to technology, a new breed of detectives are out to solve crimes. It takes a special kind to deal with After Crime technology; with a bit of DNA from the victim, they can vividly relive their final moments. This new technology comes at a price; how many times can a detective feel like he or she is dying before it takes its toll? When a new serial killer is on the loose, Detective Sam Hagen may have to find out.

The story of Repulse plays out almost as a mixture of Minority Report and any number of slasher flicks. Almost the opposite of the Tom Cruise vehicle, the After Crime concept allows detectives to live out the last few moments of a victim's life. Yes, it's a plot concept that was also used in the horrid Wild Wild West movie. With After Crime, they piece together bits of the murder; it works fine if, say, the criminal looks at the victim in the face, but not as well if they kill without even being seen. While Minority Report takes the philosophical approach and asks the questions "Is it a crime if you haven't committed it yet?" (much like the standard question of "Would you kill Hitler in his crib?"), Repulse completely ignores this aspect since it's completely a non-issue. Only at times does it cover the concept of an After Crime detective making something up, and instead focuses on the turmoil that constantly dying has on them.

Szymon Kudranski tackles both the scripting and art for the book, with some help on dialogue. Primarily an artist, Kudranski attacks the book with gusto. The times it feels as if he's used photo reference or post-pencil effects to detriment are rare. Visually, it keeps the dirt and grime of a book like DMZ; this is a dirty world the characters inhabit, and the art style shows. While Kudranski's plot may be rather cobbled together (the fact that it can be easily explained via comparisons to other movies isn't great), the dialogue and emotions inherent make it its own noble work. Some of the concepts found in the book are intriguing, despite Sam dismissing them as "New Age." It has fun with the eternal questions of "what is life" and "do souls exist". It's not a light and breezy tale, even if it does boil down to a serial killer robot.

Repulse is presented as a one-shot, and for another publisher, it would effectively be an 80-Page Special. It's 60+ pages of story, alongside a handful of pages of art, designs, and so forth. While it's in the printed page with word balloons and the like, Repulse transcends that, and honestly feels like a storyboard or pitch for a major Hollywood movie. Take A.I. and Minority Report, roll them together with a relatively small budget, and you'd actually have a pretty good sci-fi/crime thriller movie.

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