Publisher – Lion Forge
Writer – Robert Recchioni
Aritsts – Emiliano Mammucari, Alessandro Bignamini, and Gigi Cavenago
Colorists – Lorenzo De Felici, Annalisa Leoni, and Arianna Florean
Original letterer – Marina Sanfelice
Translation – Elena Cecchini and Valeria Gabbato
Localization, layout, and editing – Mike Kennedy
"We don't make art. We make cadavers."
In this series created by Robert Recchioni and Emiliano Mammucari, a group of children is trained to become soldiers in order to seek vengeance after aliens killed millions on Earth. What originally drove me to try this out my local library was the cover by Massimo Carnevale. The composition of it teases something satisfying within the pages. While there are times when Orphans Vol. 1: The Beginning shines, its own flaws hinder it.
One thing that is fantastic about the writing is the pacing. Despite the large page count, it is not hard to dive into the world of Orphans. Scenes flow nicely due to a simple, but sweet approach in terms of both writing and art. Where things get most entertaining is in the flashbacks. There is an emotional vulnerability that, at its peak, is compelling to read.
If there is a major complaint to be made about the writing, it is that the present-day scenes are not as interesting as the flashbacks. Despite some competent action scenes, those doing the action are missing something. The humans do fine when playing off of each other, but things become less entertaining when the aliens are on the page. These mysterious beings have some cool abilities, but there is not enough material for them to be fascinating in their own right.
Though there were many hands involved with the art, the visual style stays within certain artistic limits. Differences between each chapter are noticeable, but nothing feels out of place. For the most part, everything looks fine as the action moves smoothly. If there is an artistic high point, it has to be the material by Gigi Cavenago and Arianna Florean. Characters show a little more personality, and the action moves a little crisper under their care.
The lettering has its highs and lows. Sound effects feel right in the context of the action. Things get troublesome when it comes to word balloons. Most of the time, the word balloons and the text mesh well. When things go wrong is when there is too much space between the two. How much of it is due to design choices, and how much was unavoidable due to issues with the original work is unclear. Nevertheless, it is noticeable in certain moments.
Orphans Vol. 1: The Beginning is above average. The action is enjoyable, the extras are cool, and there is potential for things to develop nicely in future installments. That said, key flaws keep it from being something greater.