Orphan Black – First Impressions

orphan_black_2_poster_2After catching up with Penny Dreadful, The Big Bang Theory, and Daredevil, I’ve been in the search of a new TV series to watch. I asked for recommendations on Twitter, and the show with most mentions is Orphan Black.

The posters of this series are all pretty bland – showing the lead actress Tatiana Maslany in various versions. The posters weren’t very appealing to me, so I never gave it a try without the push of my Twitter friends.

The plot, as set up in the first three episodes, stands as follows: Sarah sees a woman who looks just like her jump in front of her train. Since Sarah is in dire need of money, she impersonates the woman to get into her savings account – but then she gets caught up deeper and deeper into the dead woman’s life, and the mysterious circumstances of their relatedness.

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Letter 44, Vol. 1: Escape Velocity by Charles Soule

Title: Escape Velocity
Author: Charles Soule
Series: Letter 44 #1-6
Rating: 3 Stars
144 pages – Published July 30th 2014 by Oni Press

Summary: On his first day of his new job, president Stephen Blades finds a letter of his predecessor. In this letter, he learns about an alien construction hidden in space, and about the space mission on its way to discover what the construction is, and why it’s there.

What I liked:

  • I’ve been binging on science-fiction reads lately, and I liked this take on the “intelligent beings in space” theme. More mystery, and less big-headed green guys
  • President Blades is put in a difficult position – will he tell the public about the proof of intelligent being in the universe, or won’t he?
  • I liked how the spaceship team was made up of a combination of military and scientific personnel, and how they interacted with each other

What I didn’t like:

  • Jezus Christ, there is way too much text in this comic. Isn’t the idea that both the pictures and the words tell the story. If you need so much text, you know you’re not doing it right
  • The political intrigue didn’t live up to my expectations. All the different factions could have been awesome, but there just wasn’t enough conflict. It was all fairly standard and predictable
  • The art. It was just a bit meh
  • By the end of the book, we’ve barely progressed in the story. Too much time is spent on unimportant subplots, and the main attraction doesn’t go beyond basic development

Verdict: A mediocre politics and space mash-up. Mainly consists of heavy-handed dialogue and useless action scenes, without any real meat to the story.


On Inauguration Day, newly elected President Stephen Blades hoped to tackle the most critical issues facing the nation: war, the economy, and a failing health care system. But in a letter penned by the outgoing President, Blades learns the truth that redefines “critical”: seven years ago, NASA discovered alien presence in the asteroid belt, and kept it a secret from the world. A stealth mission crewed by nine astronauts was sent to make contact, and they’re getting close – assuming they survive the long journey to reach their destination.

Today, President-elect Blades has become the most powerful man on the planet. This planet.

Planet of the Apes, Vol. 1: The Long War by Daryl Gregory

Title: The Long War
Author: Daryl Gregory
Series: Planet of the Apes #1-4
Rating: 4 Stars
112 pages – Published October 18th 2011 by Boom! Studios

Summary: When an ape is assassinated by a human, the unstable truce between the two factions shatters.

What I liked:

  • Even though I have never seen any movie or read any comic in the Planet of the Apes franchise, I had no trouble getting into this book. Everything is exposed clearly and without resorting to massive chunks of text to explain back story
  • The art style is grittier and darker than I’m usually attracted to, but it works great with the subject matter
  • There are so many themes underlying the conflicts in this book. It’s interesting how a war between apes and humans forces you to think about humanity
  • I’m starting to think this is just a Boom! Studios staple, but, female characters that are integral to the plot! There is nothing I hate more than the obligatory eye-candy damsel in distress female, in a story that is 99% male. In this comic there are good males, good females, bad males, and bad females. That’s what I like to see
  • Also, a pregnant female main character who’s still kicking ass. Awesome

What I didn’t like:

  • The story is so short! I wish this was told in six-issue arcs rather than a four-issue one. It’s over so quickly
  • Some evil characters look too much like evil characters. They just ooze evilness
  • I think some of the technology is rather implausible

Verdict: This Planet of the Apes comic is a great place to start if you’re unfamiliar to the franchise. It has the added benefit of being way less sexist than most comics, though the downside is that it’s rather short.

4 stars

The classic action and drama of Apes is back in this brand new graphic novel series.

Get your hands on these damn dirty Apes! Beginning an all new series that takes place before the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie in the continuity of the first five films. Ape society has reached a new golden age. But there are ripples of dissent in both the ape and human ranks. Tensions will rise and soon all will be caught in chaos! And amidst all this uncertainty, what is the fate of…The Lawgiver? Written by award-winning novelist Daryl Gregory.