Review: “Orchid, Volume 1” by Tom Morello, Scott Hepburn and Dan Jackson

A review by Courtney.

I received this comic in a box from Comic Bento during the month that the fabulous Gail Simone curated the box and it has been sitting on my shelf ever since. From the description on the back of the book, it sounded like a comic I would love and I was excited to read it, I just hadn’t. So I finally picked it up to see if Dark Horse comics could produce something other than Firefly and Buffy that I would love.

Orchid is a dark dystopian comic that takes place after global warming has occurred. The ocean levels have risen, animals have evolved into terrifying beasts, the wild is now truly wild and people have to fight to survive. Class is a defining feature in this story; the rich are safe and because technology no longer works, the poor have become slaves because who else is going to do all the brute labor? The story starts with introducing Simon who is a member of the rebellion against the upper class. Simon is in possession of a magical mask that imbues the wearer with strength, however if the person is unworthy of the mask, it makes them implode. The mask was worn by the previous leader of the rebellion and is a symbol of hope. Simon’s group of rebels is captured and the leader of their group, Anzio, is taken prisoner for information and to be killed as a message later. Simon escapes with the mask and is on the run while trying to figure out how to rescue Anzio.

While running, Simon meets a whore named Orchid and her mother and little brother. Orchid is trying to work and steal to help her family survive so her brother can have a better life. Through a turn of events Orchid, Simon, and the little brother end up captured by slavers, which Simon swears is a good thing because it will get them where they need to go and they can help the rebellion. Orchid does not really care about helping the rebellion, only about getting free with her little brother; but since part of Simon’s plan involves escaping from the people who have enslaved them, she helps him. The story sets up a quest, a classic tale of the poor wanting to dethrone the rich so everyone can have a better life and so forth.

I didn’t really like this comic and that bummed me out because I wanted to like it. Orchid has a lot of the elements I generally lean towards when looking for comics or new stories to read; it’s dystopian and there’s a couple cool female characters. However, I couldn’t connect with any of the characters and the story wasn’t written in a compelling enough way to keep me interested or wanting more. The story felt like one that has been told, and there just weren’t enough new elements and it wasn’t told in an interesting enough way to keep me reading. The twists that the story tried to keep me interested with were all things I’ve read that have been done better in other comics. The cover to this book looks amazing, and is something I could have easily bought in a store, however the story after it and art inside just fell flat. I would only recommend this book to people over the age of 18 because the material the story covers is dark, violent and graphically sexual.

My rating: 1.5/5 stars.

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