How to describe Protocol: Orphans #1??? It’s kind of like Little Orphan Annie, except Daddy Warbucks is really Daddy “Government” and he has adopted Annie and other orphans so he can train them to become elite super spies when they come of age. Well, the time is now. The ages of the orphans vary from young adult to tween, but it is safe to say that “Daddy G.” has realized his dream of an orphan super spy program. Issue one covers the orphans’ first mission and I must say that it is white knuckles all the way through.
The pace of the story is relentless and it hooks you in right from the beginning and keeps you hooked right to the end. I found the characterizations of the orphans to be diverse and not cookie cutter. You see different personalities and varying degrees of commitment to please “Dad”. You also see the blame game played when things don’t go right, flashbacks to training that helped solidify the characters making them who they are (very interesting to say the least), and one truly kick ass fighting force that can really handle their business, including an order for a “no kill” mission.
Writer Michael Alan Nelson takes the script and runs with it at red line speed. He doesn’t slow down and he transitions from the different aspects of the team with ease making for a very smooth, but speedy ride. Likewise, Mariano Navarro drops some seriously good artwork that has detail and depicts the many faces of the orphans to their varying degrees. It would have been easy to go basic with the characters, but Navarro does not and he draws the orphans with a strong sense of individuality.
Then there is the action….Oh the action! Detonation timers, wires, anxiety filled faces, countdowns, fights, chases… It is all there. I feel like I got a whole “Mission Impossible” style story depicted thoroughly in just a standard 24 page comic format. This is one of those issues that you will read through real fast, then go back and read it again to make sure that you didn’t miss anything. That is always a plus on any comic title.
As nice as the action is, I truly stand amazed at the two “bombs” dropped during this first issue. They are well-played up through the art/writing, and in the case of one of the “bombs, extraordinarily surprising. Just when you think you know what is happening, this realization occurs that will rivet you and fill you with much desire to read more. The only regret I have at the moment is that the story arc is slated for only a four issue run. We are already a quarter of the way through.
If the following three issues follow #1’s lead, then Protocol: Orphans should be considered a hit. It is action packed, exciting, and one thing that is missing in a lot of comics of this nature, it’s fun… good fun with solid entertainment value. Boom Studios have taken this idea created by Peter Facinelli and Rob Defranco, added quality talent in writer Nelson and artist Navarro, and they have given the reader a strong story arc to their lineup that is worthy of praise and commendation. Protocol: Orphans #1 is definitely worth a look and a buy.
Writer: Michael Alan Nelson
Artist: Mariano Navarro
Publisher: Boom Studios
Release Date: 11/13/13