Orphan Black #1 Review

Story by: Graeme Manson & John Fawcett, with Jody Houser
Art by: Szymon Kudranski
Published by: IDW Publishing

Orphan Black, that distinctly unique show, featuring the truly exceptional Tatiana Maslany, has leapt from the small screen to the sequential page. With some comics you find that the story is hard work, that it takes some effort to navigate, however, with the source material already two seasons in, there is a wellspring of quality ‘story’ available. For those unfamiliar with the show, this book does an effective job at laying out the basis of Orphan Black. The plot is set out in a similar manner to that of the show, with sufficient interest points littered throughout the pages to engage the reader. The array of characters present is rich and varied.
I tend to have an issue with translations, after the event, of movies and shows, as there isn’t the same creative effort in terms of creating the story – it’s already alive and kicking. While the creative team have taken on board the feel of the show (not always, but there are moments that translate to the page quite well) there are a few moments that are disjointed, where the flow of the story falls apart.


The art of Orphan Black is a little hit and miss. In places the realistic feel of the book comes across well, you see the characters from the show, while in other places you don’t quite find that the artist has been as successful in capturing the character. This is an unfortunate overspill from having prior knowledge of the show. The art is competent enough, but it is only natural to compare a version of the story with the actual thing.
Overall, this is a solid story, but the translation is not nearly effective enough. The art is competent without being exceptional, the writing is similarly imbued with competent execution but that’s about it. In terms of where this book can go, there is ample material available to the creative team, with sufficient plotlines and characters to generate a long series. The question remains though, is it possible for the team to make their mark on Orphan Black or will the series remain firmly in the shadows of the show?