Review – Orphan Black #1 (IDW Publishing)

OB01-coverA - CopyPublisher: IDW Publishing
Writers: Graeme Manson and John Fawcett with Jody Houser
Artist: Szymon Kudranski
Release Date: 25th February, 2015

A spin-off comic based on a cult BBC show, written by the creators and published by the kings of tie-ins? What’s not to be excited about?

Well, I’ve never seen the show. Perils of two small kids and erratic viewing habits I guess. My limited understanding of the premise – woman sees an identical version of herself jump in front of a train, and begins to unravel a massive conspiracy – meant that I’d been really keen to watch it, but just never got around to it.

So how well does this serve me as a non-fan? It sits in consort with the tv timeline, this issue re-establishing the premise (so may feel like a rehash, but to me was fresh as a cloned daisy), with further issues developing characters, and versions of characters, alongside the established continuity.

I was very impressed, to be honest. I like the premise, I like the strong narrative driven by realistic, flawed, female characters, and the pitch of the dialogue is spot on. A couple of times the narrative jars very slightly, making me reread a couple of pages to make sure I hadn’t missed something, and that may be down to the assumption that the reader does actually know the show, but it’s not the end of the world.

The art is really dramatic, with angles that aren’t slavish to TV shots, and Mat Lopes palette fades in and out perfectly alongside the flashbacks. Speaking of which, the framing style used for flashbacks really helps the reader keep track. The execution of the various versions of Sarah, the main character, is subtle but absolutely distinctive.

I should put in a word or two about the seemingly infinite variety of alternate covers. Well, 14. Does the show really have the hardcore fanbase to warrant this? I don’t know, but Cat Suggs work on the covers is simply perfect, and certainly worth picking up more than one of (the Alice variant being a personal favourite).

So, does this make me want watch it? Definitely. Does this make me want to read more? Oh my yes.

Rating: 4/5.

SAMDAVThe Writer of this piece was: Sam Graven
You can follow Sam on Twitter

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