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Orchid, Vol. 1 [Dark Horse Comics] Review

Posted on June 30, 2012 AT 09:16pm

From the innovative mind of musician Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, The Nightwatchman) came a comic about disaster and revolution. That book has now been collected in Orchid, Vol. 1. This book is a creation that could only come from someone like Morello, who has always been known as  a creative, if not a bit eccentric, mind. With mysterious masks that kill anyone wearing it who is not a “saint”, new and dangerous creatures and a whole new system of living based off wealth and fame. Orchid’s first volume, which collects the first four issues, shows how things became so broken, and why.

From the very first sentence, Orchid shows that this new world is a completely different animal than the world that is so familiar to many. A massive rise in the seas lead to disaster, rewriting the genetic code and resetting all of the social progress that had held for so long. New animals filled in the blanks when many commonly known species went extinct, slavery was re-introduced, and cities were built high above the new sea level, to serve as a safe haven for the rich. The poor were left to live in waterlogged shanty towns to live as slaves, serving the rich.

Morello, who wrote the script for this book, tells a dynamic story of revolution, loss, and survival, focusing on the journey of Simon, the only man left of a revolutionary group, (save for his captured leader, Anzio) and Orchid, a shanty prostitute who, through actions that are completely Simon’s fault,  is brought along for the ride, accompanied by her younger brother, Yehzu. The trio (unwillingly, save for Simon) journey through capture, escape and pursuit, in an attempt to save Anzio and continue the revolution. This is an engrossing and well written plot that shines throughout every moment, leaving few, if any, plot holes. The characters are interesting and varied, from the well-spoken and combat-impaired Simon to the hot-tempered and loyal Orchid. The twists and turns of the tale keep the reader going, and with carefully explained flashbacks to fill in the blanks as to how the events of the past influenced the present.

Scott Hepburn and Dan Jackson, who contributed the art and colors, respectively, did a good job of telling the tale through pictures, making the dangerous and terrifying animals that evolved from the disaster take visual form. While not the most detailed, Hepburn and Jackson show desolation and tyranny with unique depictions of animals and of humanity. The art style is decidedly Dark Horse, and follows the style made mainstream by many of the artists and titles in their stable. While very different from other publishers, this style is unique and interesting, making it a look all their own. This tactic fits well with Morello’s story, which is just as unique. A clearer visual style, especially with the wildlife, would have made this book really stand out, however.

Orchid is unlike many of the books out now, even by the standards of Dark Horse, who are masters taking the terrifying and unique and giving is a home. Morello takes an outsiders look at making a comic, taking his distinct, creative mind and applying it not to music, as is the usual, but to comics. As he explains at the end of the volume, Morello wanted to have a foundation for the conflict in his story, to have answers and reasons for how and why things were happening, and he did just that, creating a new world that is one of a kind. Orchid is definitely worth a read, especially for those who are interesting in this type of story, or are fans of Morello’s work. As with his music, Orchid: Vol. 1  is unique and well done.

This collection releases on July 11th.

The Good: Terrific Story | Dynamic Characters

The Bad: N/A

The Ugly: N/A

Score: 9.o


Russ Pirozek, known as "Noobcrawler" to some, is a gamer and comic book fan who sometimes gets around to writing for He's also awesome. If someone looked up "awesome" in the dictionary, his picture wouldn't be there, but that's because he's too busy being awesome to pose for a photo.

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