ORCHID: Volume 1 by Tom Morello & Scott Hepburn
Orchid’s cover grabbed my attention immediately and ultimately decided me on picking up this graphic novel. The dystopian atmosphere and the really wild hair made me curious.
The story is one we’ve all seen before. A person (in this case, Orchid) becomes a rallying point for a revolution to overthrow the maniacal powers that be. The story is almost always a good one.
I really like the art in this graphic novel. Scott Hepburn does a lot with the pages, pacing, and action, shifting back and forth to capture the essence of this very different world. I loved the big flower hanging over the building where the prostitutes ply their trade, colorful and suggestive all at the same time. And his characters seem almost a detailed manga with lots of personality.
Tom Morello evidently spent a lot of time working out the background of his tale and figuring out the mythos that he wanted to play with. The way the new world has developed out of the ashes of the old is cool, and there’s a lot of side story stuff that could probably hold other stories as well if he continues to want to explore the environment.
Morello’s mythos hinges on a mask that’s supposed to give the wearer – the right wearer, kind of like Cinderella’s shoe – powers to overcome adversaries. But the legend has been so muddled through time that no one knows for sure if the mask that’s been found is even the right one.
Interestingly enough, I don’t much care for Orchid so far, and she’s supposed to be our main hero. I know that’s not unusual for a tale of redemption, but there are only twelve issues in the series and this graphic novel collects the first four of them. I’d figured I’d be warming up to her by the end of this book, but no, not really.
However, I am interested in seeing what happens next to the rest of the crew, although after this first arc I’m concerned that everybody’s going to die before Orchid gets her hero face on. She does end the arc with a vow of revenge, so that’s showing some promise.
The thing that saves this book for me mostly is the secondary characters. Simon has some interesting facets, but he’s not hero material. Opal has some depth and heroic qualities about her in spite of her seeming insanity.