Filed under: Comic Reviews, Dark Horse Comics | Tags: DanJackson, MassimoCarnevale, Orchid, ScottHepburn, TomMorello
It would be impossible for me to discuss Orchid without mentioning Rage Against The Machine, so I’m not going to try. As a bass player who spent her teenage years furiously learning and playing along to the songs of RATM, to then find out Tom Morello was writing a comic was just about the best thing I’d ever heard, that week at least. I then found out that said #1 comic would only cost $1 and my joy was once again rejuvenated. Would my happiness last now that Orchid has been released? Lets find out…
Issue #1’s cover is striking in its washed out and faded desolation. Orchid, with her shamanic headdress, stands as the sole point of life, but even that is fading, tremulous as she stands amongst industrial debris and smog. Yes, Massimo Carnevale has got Orchid off to a great start.
Inside the front cover there is an introductory paragraph on the ‘World of Orchid’ that is quickly rendered superfluous by the upcoming first few panels. In fact, it actually made me double-check the text hadn’t just been repeated. Annoying. Accompanying this recycled paragraph is our artistic introduction to this bleak and futuristic world. National monuments and cities have been flooded, environmental corruption is rife, humans are reduced to living in squalor while new and deadly creatures are evolving.
Hepburn and Jackson work hard to firmly establish Morello’s vision of a frightening, future world whilst the narrative alerts us to the political and social situation. For the avoidance of doubt, it is just as bleak as the landscape. Most people live in slums and in constant fear of dangerous new animals, whilst the rich live the high life, well away from the dangers of flooding and scary beasts. The poor are treated as slaves. It’s good to see that Morello has shown no fear of bringing his politics into Orchid, although as with many new-to-comics writers, he has used PLENTY of words in this book.
We spend most of issue #1 in the company of Simon, a veteran of the slave pits, the robotics slave corps, and a member of the late Anzio’s band of rebels. He comes across as a likeable and interesting character, but his faux Victorian era English-gentlemanly dialogue is really annoying. If this could be toned down for future issues it would make me happy. Simon’s near capture/ escape/ capture serve to illustrate the world he lives in excellently, both literally and visually. The narrative is pretty heavy on the class war throughout.
Simon’s journey also introduces us to Orchid and her family who are shown as downtrodden and weak, in contrast to Orchid herself. Whoring in a dirt brothel she is shown as a hard bully, contemptible of those girls in the same situation as she. It’s clear she cares about her family, though, and her dialogue is welcome respite from that of Simon’s. She looks to be a strong character and I’ll admit I’m interested to see how she develops.
For $1 you can’t really beat this book. I’m unsure as to what I paid for it in £, but it was definitely value for money. The art is really strong, but its the colours that grab you and deliver the book’s emotion. I like this horrid, bleak future world that Morello has come up with and I will stick around for the next few issues at least, to see if the characters get more interesting. (In Simon’s case, read ‘less annoying’.)
Story by Tom Morello
Pencils by Scott Hepburn
Colours by Dan Jackson
Cover by Massimo Carnevale
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