Review – Orphan Black volume 1 TP (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Written by: Graeme Manson, John Fawcett, Jody Houser
Art by: Various
Release Date: 23rd September, 2015

There are so many people involved in the creation of this comic that they almost outnumber the clones. And the comic suffers as a result.

TV and film tie-ins potentially have a very hard job to do. Sure, they are not necessarily risky for publishers because there is a ready-made audience for the comic version. Namely, fans of the show who want to have a little bit more of the programme they love. Fans who want to see the characters do a little more, and who want a lasting, tangible memory of the show that they loved. Doesn’t sound too hard does it? But it can go so horribly, horribly wrong. Not enough new material, dodgy artwork, messing with the plot that has already happened? Yeah, there’s a lot of things that can potentially piss off that ideal, waiting audience.

Orphan Black is about clones. Clone girls that live all over the world and suddenly come to learn of each other’s existence. It all begins when Sarah, the Punky Londoner, watches a girl who looks just like her walk in front of a moving train. Sarah takes the girl’s bag from the platform and begins living her life. But Becky was a cop and Sarah has to find a way out of her lie in order to rescue her own daughter. Oh, and like all good clone enterprises there is an evil overseer.

Orphan Black the comic is, to be blunt, not good. I have watched a few series of the TV show and it is original, well written and clever. However, it succeeds in the main because Tatiana Maslany who plays all the DYAD clones is so incredibly diverse and watching her inhabit all these completely different characters is quite mesmerising. She makes what is complicated and fantastical really simple and believable. She is also helped by the pacing of the plot that allows for your mind to believe in each clone as an individual within an individual environment.

Unfortunately, the comic is none of these things. The minute changes to the plot don’t add anything. There is no suspense. The plot is rushed and cut apart with a blunt scythe. The artwork is inconsistent – a fault perhaps of the division of labour, although artists seem to have stuck to certain characters – it veers from dodgy and disappointing to work that looks like it was created with an app using a photo of the show.

I honestly don’t know who the audience for this one is intended to be. Fans of the show won’t like it. New readers will feel both rushed and confused. Me? I felt all three at once. Kind of like a clone, really.

Rating: 1/5.

HAZHAVThe Writer of this piece was: Hazel Hay
You can follow Hazel on Twitter

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