My previous encounter with Orphan Black: Helsinki was one that left me hoping for something better, I hoped for a more constant level of quality. I wanted Veera’s journey of self-discovery and possible vengeance to be more personal. I wanted the book to justify the number of writers helming the story. Apparently skipping an issue helps.
So… clones. Veera is one of many clones coming to terms with a seeming conspiracy. Issue three continues on with a “parents just don’t understand” attitude that pervades the conversation at the center of its plot. From the outside, looking in, theses young woman just seem like paranoid runaways, troubled kids looking for a reason to rage against their authority figures. I mean, really, is it that upsetting to find out you’re a clone? But, obviously we know Veera and her fellow clones are being pursued by malevolent figures and watched with conniving eyes. We know they’re being controlled by forces they don’t understand. However, their lack of full knowledge and maturity leads to several tense moments where you can’t help but wonder how the clones should hunt for the truth. They can’t trust their families. Can they trust each other? How do they even know they were created for malevolent reasons? And as the reader, you struggle with a thought most kids have everyday: maybe the people in charge know what they’re doing. Maybe everything needs to be under someone else’s control.
Veera can’t allow herself such thoughts.
She can’t go back to her old life. She needs answers. But the journey will be especially difficult for her. Veera’s social ineptitude becomes an actual hindrance to her nebulous goal of finding her origin. She should be the leader of this small and spirited team of clones, but she struggles to speak up. And when she speaks her words are hard to follow. I quite enjoy and appreciate having a protagonist who can’t seem to stick the landing of being a protagonist. She’s finding her voice under some remarkable circumstances.
The art’s overall quality has jumped significantly from the first issue. I applaud the art team for drawing a room full of clones, each maintaining a consistent set of facial features and expressions. Also, each of the girls has unique mannerisms and clothing styles to mark them as individuals. Except for the “twins” of the group. They look more identical than the others. That’s got to be strangely difficult to pull off.
Issue three turns up the horror of living without power, a horror that only breaks when the story flinches away from the girls. Even then this issue’s tertiary characters are struggling under creeping dread. Sudden changes to a strictly enforced status quo have left our antagonists anxious. It should be interesting to see if and how they reassert their power. And as that happens, how will our team of clones react to prove their own might?
Orphan Black: Helsinki #3 Writer: John Fawcett, Graeme Manson, and Heli Kennedy Artist: Wayne Nichols and Fico Ossio Colorist: Chris Fenoglio Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/17/2016 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital