I have now made it to the end of the four issue mini Protocol Orphans. I have read the final issue and I have a very strong opinion on what I read. What is that opinion? It is one of sadness as I am going to miss this title a whole lot. Ever since reading the first issue, Protocol Orphans has become one of the titles that I would get excited to see on my review list. I found within the pages a first-rate action comic that blended the very best of spy drama with intense political intrigue and edge of your seat action that made it one very hard one to put down. I typically found myself reading it a couple of times and it would resonate on my mind after reading it for quite a while too. It really got my motor running when I read it.
Writer Michael Alan Nelson has created a mini masterpiece here with these four issues that grew as they progressed. Each one built-in intensity with a solid crescendo of excitement that topped the previous issue. I still don’t know how it was done, but within the pages which are only 24, it somehow, feels like about 30 + pages of action and story are squeezed into it. It is a strange effect that I still don’t know how it was done, but it feels like each individual frame is completely maximized to put as much into it as possible. Whether it is dialogue, back story, or simply straight action drawing by Mariano Navarro, they fill it up and each issue feels like a double issue. There is that much action in it.
It is quite difficult to explain the story as there are so many specific plot points going on. But I can summarize it by saying that the Orphans, a crack team of real orphans raised by the government and trained to be super-spies have been working on breaking a terrorist operation known as Black Friday. Many twists and turns occur and all of it comes to a head in issue number four as the true nature of Black Friday is revealed putting the Orphans against forces that match their own level of skill. Everything comes to a head with a showdown that is one for the ages. There are explosions galore.
I cannot find really any flaw within the story; Nelson’s writing is perfect and suited for the action displayed. Navarro’s artwork has impressed me from the beginning as it has been intense and action packed with a nice eye for detail within the facial features of each Orphan as they grapple with whatever problem is set before them. Finally, Gabriel Cassata adds the perfect amount of coloring to make this comic an interesting read with super action, but never overdone. It all just rocks in high-definition.
I found the conclusion to be rewarding, entertaining, and excellent. But as I said earlier, I was left feeling a little sad. I am going to miss these Orphans and the creative collaboration. I sincerely hope to see more someday. I credit Boom Studios a ton for running with this mini and I simply can’t recommend it enough. Protocol Orphans is my early pick for mini-series of the year. It is that good people. Do yourself a huge favor and pick up these little four issues of awesome. You will be very glad that you did.
Writer: Michael Alan Nelson
Artist: Mariano Navarro
Publisher: Boom Studios
Release Date: 2/12/14