The first issue of Orchid was kind of like any other first issue of a comic, it introduced us to our characters, set up the world in which they live and established the plot of the story. Granted I was taken in by the world and the plot, but I didn’t really get a feel for the characters due to the time spent setting up the former. With the second issue, we get a lot more of the world set up for us and the rest of the time is spent with the characters. We begin with the oceans raising up and swallowing the land. Again we’re informed that the rich own the high ground and new rulers from different country’s take over. They garnish their own symbols on their fortresses while others take to ships and sail the seas becoming cannibals. In the slave pits Orchid finds her and her brother surrounded by men waiting to take a piece out of them. Simon has taken the opportunity to use the encampment as a soap box about reform and rebellion. Unfortunately everyone around is barely educated making it difficult to understand him; with the addition of the fact that that most of them don’t believe that rebellion is possible doesn't help either. The next day they’re herded to a slave auction where Simon adjusts the scale to weigh him heavier so that he’ll be brought to a particular city for his "strength." He convinces his new master to buy Orchid, but the man seems more interested in buying her brother instead.
There’s more to the story, but that’s a good place to stop. I will say that there are giant bears with scorpion stingers yet to come which make the story interesting. As a whole the world is very well thought out, but I’m finding the characters hard to like. Mostly because they’re situation has them at the lowest of the low and they do very little to change it with one exception. There still isn’t much character development and Orchid in particular is coming across very one dimensional rather than a full fledge character. At NYCC, Morello said that basically Orchid is going to rise up and lead the Bridge People in rebellion against the rich, but right now I just can’t see that. Hopefully the next issue will reveal more of the mask and its role in Orchid’s story.
The art is still very fitting for the book. It’s has almost a sloppy feel to it that just fits the post-apocalyptic theme it’s set in. Some of the panels are free forming and in general artist Scott Hepburn uses some creative storytelling throughout the book. In particular one panel has Simon talking to Orchid as she’s walking away and we see Simon head on, but we also see Orchid’s back as she’s leaving. It’s not traditionally what you’d see for that type of scene; usually we would be shown Orchid walking away from over Simon’s shoulder or his POV. Hepburn instead draws the scene as if it were two different panels, but overlaps them and it works out to have a very organic feel to it.
I wish that there was more character development since right now I could go either way on caring about the death of one of the characters, and trust me one of them is dying soon. I am enthralled in the world that’s been created and the ideas of the new technology and the wilderness. But in order to continue being a good comic the plot will have to catch up with the world or readers will start to focus on everything but the characters struggles.