Comic Noob: Orphan Black #1 “Sarah”

Comic Noob is back in black – Orphan Black! The Orphan Black comic series, based on the hit sci-fi show, is written by John Fawcett, Graeme Manson, and Jody Houser. Having watched Orphan Black, I went into the first issue expecting a lot of exposition – basically, the events of the pilot episode. I was right, but it is information that is absolutely necessary, especially for a reader who doesn’t have any context for this show. And in addition to setting up the Cloneiverse, we are treated to actually being inside the head of the clone and getting flashbacks of her past – in this issue, Sarah’s.

The addition I enjoyed the most was the flashback of Sarah’s childhood with Felix. There’s a panel where a little Sarah is beating up some kid because he said Fe hits like a girl. In the show, we know that Fe and Sarah grew up together and look out for each other, but it’s interesting to actually see this relationship in the past. In her thoughts, she adds that she owes Fe and Kira “big time.” Sarah’s loyalty to both of them is unquestioned in the show and in the comic, and we always know who she’s going to protect. It’s just new to hear her say that she feels she owes them something because Sarah has such a badass attitude on the exterior.

There are some interesting side-by-side panels comparing Sarah’s actions to Beth’s actions, which are very well done. The desperation of the first dead clone is palpable while Sarah plans her con to steal Beth’s identity/money. Like the show, Sarah quickly finds out Beth is a cop, which leads to a flashback of Sarah being in jail as a teenager, with Mrs. S., her guardian, talking to her. Mrs. S, of all things, criticizes Sarah for not dressing well enough to pull off a con, and tells her if she’s gonna pull this kind of crap, it better be worth it. This gives us a little more insight into the strange relationship between Mrs. S. and Sarah and hints at Mrs. S.’s experience in deception as well.

The illustrations by Szymon Kudranski are great; it reminds me of the new Doctor Who comics where the artist really pins down the character’s essence, and the actor’s appearance, through illustration only. I can’t wait to see how Kudranski will depict, in drawing, the differences between the main clones. Like, how do you draw uptightness? I’m sure I’ll find out in the Alison issue.

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Angie Dahl

Angie feels about books the way Smaug feels about gold: she can never get enough and will threaten people with her fire breath if she finds any are missing. Her book collection can only be matched by her stash of lipsticks, where her favorite shade is the same color as her boxing gloves. Her ultimate goal in life is to go on a murder mystery train.

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