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Friday 1 April 2011

The Rainbow Orchid. Volume Two. Garen Ewing (Writer and Art). Egmont (2010)

This is a very engaging and highly enjoyable comic, a really well done adventure story with a strong plot and an engaging cast.Julius Chancer, Lily Lawrence and Nathaniel Crumpole fly to India in pursuit of the fabled Rainbow Orchid. They need it to win a foolish bet made by Lily Lawrence's father with the very unscrupulous Urkaz Grope. Grope has dispatched Evelyn Crow, along with some assorted thugs, to stop Julius by any means possible. The multiple threads of the plot are explored in more detail, the reveals are nicely staged and the story is advanced in a very entertaining fashion.
The art is lovely, while Garen Ewing has a very distinctive style, he has a great range with his cast, each person is distinct and their actions are clear and crisp. The level of detail is very welcome, the physical context for the action is always very well judged and gives a great depth and weight to the story. The structure of the story is excellent, the plot lines are clearly laid out, the explanations are woven into the narrative in a very natural way.
Julius Chancer is a engaging hero, impulsive and brave, he is given a credible back story and time to have some doubts. He is not a superhero and the story gains greatly from his competent humanity. Evelyn Crow is a wonderful villain, her implacable and stylish energy creates the central tension in the story. None of the others in the cast are shortchanged, everyone is given enough space and content to make an impression without crowding the story too much. Garen Ewing has managed a very difficult balancing act between action and character, speed and plot density all delivered with sparkling art, a pleasure.

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