Thursday, October 13, 2011

Orchid #1

 It’s been a while since I wrote up any comic reviews, mainly because I was swamped with comics, but I thought I should put something up about this one, mainly because it’s written by Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave fame. That might be of interest.
So the first thing you notice is the quite striking cover, who one might assume is the titular character, Orchid. You would be right in that assumption, though she actually doesn’t appear till the last quarter of the book, and by then I’d kind of forgotten I was reading a comic about a girl called Orchid.
The book is set in a world where the oceans have risen, society has fallen, and genetic monsters roam the wild eating those too poor to live on higher ground. All that is essentially told to us on the opening/credit page. But then it tells us again as we actually start reading the comic, spread out over the next few pages, the exact same wording. Which would have been fine if I hadn’t just read it on the previous page. I guess it’s a kind of set-up piece that could be at the start of every comic, but if it’s going to be at the start of this first issue actually within text boxes in the comic, then I think that was a mistake to have it as a paragraph on your credit page. Anyway, that’s really my only real complaint. As the text within the comic, it seemed a bit clunky, and I was a bit worried about Tom Morello’s chops at writing a comic, but once we get past that, it’s all ok.

So instead of meeting Orchid at the start, we meet up with a bunch of rebels, who have stolen a mask of a famous rebel leader, which is supposed to have some kind of power, but at the very least is a rallying point for the revolution, and has symbolic power. These rebels are being chased, but one of them named Simon gets away with the mask, and it is through this verbose young man that we eventually get to meet up with Orchid, a prostitute with an attitude of looking out for number one, but also looks out for her family.
So the world building that’s going on here is pretty solid. Tom has set-up the world pretty well, though there’s nothing strikingly original in the ideas. I don’t mean that as a diss, I’m just saying a kind of post-apocalyptic world is familiar, it’d be hard to come up with something no one has ever seen before. Anyway, they’re doing a good job. Scott Hepburn is doing the drawing, and he’s doing a nice job visually. His characters are clear, and the genetic beasties he’s drawing are freakish. The world they live in is well realised, appropriately overgrown and decaying civilisation. So far I’m enjoying it.
I read in the editorial piece at the back that there’s a free download of an original song that Tom Morello has recorded to enhance the reading experience of the comic. The first one I think anyone can download, but the next ones you’ll need the code from the comic. I wish they had mentioned that at the start of the comic, rather than at the end, so I could have had it playing in the background as I read it. Anyway, it’s not what I was thinking, though it’s a pretty solid song, and I’m looking forward to hearing the rest.
So that was Orchid #1. You can buy it digitally if you want, it only costs a buck, though I assume next issue will be more in line with standard comic prices. I liked it, and I look forward to the next 11 issues.

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