What is it about G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward’s Invisible Kingdom that is so compelling? I believe it’s that Kingdom melds so many different explorations of modern society together so seamlessly, and that it uses its characters’ desires to do so.
The essential question of our time is: What sort of society are we building (so quickly, ever so quickly), and what can we do to shape it? So many systems, actors, and decisions feel out of our control – but there are things we can control. We can control our connection with the world, with our friends and loved ones, and with our own actions and desires.
Invisible Kingdom tells a story that is set within a society which mirrors ours in many ways (a government beholden to interests other than its people’s, a mega-corporation quickly changing society’s way of life, people unsure how to reconcile spirituality with modern living). It is a fantastic, colorful world, brought to wondrous life by Christian Ward’s neon hues and expressive lines. But it is our world as well – and I recognize the people within it.
That, more than anything, is what I want out of my sci-fi these days. I want a brand-new world that I recognize pieces of, and I want to follow the adventures of people who, while their struggles may be more grand, I see at least part of myself in.
In much the same way I recognize the people who populate Saga or Firefly, I recognize the cast of Invisible Kingdom. They struggle to protect their friends and family from the monolithic systems they live within. They struggle to reconcile their ethics and desires with the realities of their world. And like most of us, they are just doing their best to get by – and they do better when they work together.
If you’re a fan of ragtag sci-fi crews, grand illustrations, and characters whose desires set them at odds with the world they live in, you’ll want to pick up Invisible Kingdom. In a genre that is (somehow) increasingly populated by retreads, Invisible Kingdom feels incredibly current, and refreshingly new.