REVIEW: Orphan Black: Helsinki: The Chaos Strategy #1

(W) Graeme Manson & Various (A) Alan Quah (CA) Cat Staggs
Publisher: IDW PUBLISHING

Orphan Black is one those shows that people tell me I should be watching, and ever one to take advice about a new show, I have watched quite a few episodes.  Well, I have been a tad disingenuous there; when I said “I watched”, I meant I have suffered whilst Mrs Hughes watches it. What hopes for a review of a comic based on the show then?

The issue play into the overall vibe of the show, with Veera on the run following an altercation with her Uncle whose “camera in her bedroom” actions may or may not be as obvious as assumed.  Once Veera has discovered she is not the only girl who is being watched, she is off on a quest to save them, all the while surfing the college experience as the new girl on the campus.

One of the books strengths is the fact that the show creators, Graeme Mason and John Fawcett are involved.  With so many girls with the same face, having a clear head (or in this case two) to keep things straight seems like a good idea.  It also means that the book will never travel to far from the show’s established cannon.  Which then begs the question, what is the point?  Also on writing duties is Keli Kennedy and Denton J. Tipton who I assume are the main scribes of the issue, with Mason and Fawcett serving as experts or consultants.  The story moves along well enough, with the usual college shenanigans taking the place of the cityscapes of the show, even if a case of mistaken identity is all but taken from an early season one episode.

The art is by Allan Quah is for the most part, is ok but lacks a consistent approach to Veera who is supposed to look like the lead from the show, albeit a younger version. Still the dreamscape works well as does some of the college settings.  Throughout the book, you can feel Vera’s uncertainty in her world which was turned upside down.  Quah is helped by Jeffrey Huet who provides some additional inks.  I would like to have known where these were applied to get a feel for the differences between Huet’s inks and Quah’s finished worked.

With the series creators on-board, I would hope that some of the things in the book have ramifications in the show.  Normally that isn’t the case in licences books and with this being somewhat of a prequel to events, I have to say, I am not sure why this book is out.  IDW are good at putting out quality books, that appeal to fans of the shows and films from which they are licensed. Quality wise, that is true here and there should be enough elements of the show in the book to keep fans happy.

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