Earth's landscape is forever changed, the surviving population scattered throw the world. Settlements appeared in the wilderness surrounded be dense jungle and new animal lifeforms.
Orchid is born in one of these settlements. Forced to live under the ruling of a dictatorship she struggles to provide for her family. When a freedom fighter stumbles up her life things will never be the same again.
How is it?
Orchid Volume 1 was written by Tom Morello, most known for playing guitar in bands like Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave. As a musician Tom has been an active political activist. His political ideals are visible in this story. He takes a simplistic approach to the social structure of the settlements and his political ideals rub off in the book. Having said that I should point out that this isn't a propaganda or even a political book.
The Shadow Rebels managed to steal the legendary Mask that once belonged to the popular hero General China. Legend has it that the Mask grants great strength to who wears it, but only a saint can wear the Mask. However only one rebel manages to escape with the Mask and the others are either killed or capture.
|Shadow Rebels on the run|
Orchid works as a prostitute to provide for her family. In this new society there is very little of everything, and that includes jobs for young girls. When the escaped rebel Simon crosses her path, everything changes for her and her family. By a series of unfortunate event she, her little brother and Simon end up imprisoned and are sold as slaves. With the help of the Mask they managed to escape into the wilderness. This is were Orchid really starts to shine.
From here on they will meet interesting characters, the truth behind the Mask and General China will start to unveil. The flashback's that tell the origin of China are really good. Tom Morello's writing has no moral ambiguity. Usually I like moral ambiguity but he managed to give his characters such an innocence and purety of motivations that approach very well.
|General China's demise|
Its only in the last 1/3 of the book that we get some insight of the real bad guy. He is a bad man. A sociopath that as little or none appreciation for the human life. Tomo Wolfe doesn't flinch when he decides to murder 2 of his men in order get into Barrabas the mercenary's good side. The book ends with our heroes renewing their resolve to free the captured rebels and take down Tomo Wolfe.
|The seas have risen|
Scott Hepburn and Dan Jackson are in charge of the art. Both do a great job. Pencils and colors are fabulous. The color pallet Jackson applies is perfect to convey the spirit of the story. While its gloomy and dark he doesn't get trapped in pastel color limbo and employs bright and primary colors when they're called for, Hepburn's pencils are gorgeous. The skinny and starving inhabitants of this word are a joy to look at. The vegetation, the mutated animals, even the mask are all so very detailed.
Hepburn plays around with panel layout while at the same time maintaining a great level of reading dynamic. I really enjoy when artists do this with high degree of success. Changing the panels layout and size, overlapping them or even getting rid of the borders all together gives a sort of soul to the art that largely enhances the reading experience.
I like this book. The art is fantastic, the plot is interesting, the pace is just right. Musicians writing good comics is becoming a trend. I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys good post-apocalyptic stories, with some action and strong female leads. Volume 2 is already on the way.
Publisher: Dark Horse
Authors: Tom Morello, Dan Jackson, Scott Hepburn
Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2013/01/review-orchid-volume-1.html