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Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Rainbow Orchid. Volume 3. Garen Ewing (Writer & Artist). Egmont (2012)

Clever and very satisfying conclusion to the story, the cast and plot are excellent, the whole story executed with great style and flair. Julius Chancer, recovering after the savage attack on his group by Evelyn Crow that lead to the death of Nathaniel Crumploe decides to abandon the search for the Rainbow Orchid. As Julius amnd Lily Lawerence are about to return to their camp to search for Nathaniel's body, he appears along with Julius's boss Sir Alfred and Mr Dubbin from the Empire Survey Branch. The search for the orchid is resumed and the journey to the hidden valley where it may be located started. Evelyn Crow, displaying admirable commitment to her task of stopping the party continues in pursuit. At the same time in England the plot involving Urkaz Grope and why he wants to win the Trembling Sword of of Tybalt Stone becomes clearer. In the mountains a forgotten civilization is found and twists and turns of the story continue. The reveals are very clever, the action dramatic and the conclusion entirely satisfying.
Garen Ewing has managed to subtly update the adventure stories of the British Empire without ever loosing or compromising the elements that make them distinctive. The quest by Europeans for a plant that has critical importance to a hidden civilization, the return of a native that opens old political and romantic wounds, the secret agenda of an agent of empire and most of all a really committed, effective and resilient villain are deftly woven together with a light touch. The expectations that the form sets up are neatly and satisfyingly undercut as good more or less triumphs and evil more or less is defeated but triumph and defeat are mixed.
The art is outstanding, suitably old fashioned it captures the spirit of the story and at the same time is entirely contemporary in its story elements. The cast look the part, they fit the historical context and the genre ideas with ease and carry off the sharper modern action with force.
Clever, engaging comic storytelling of the highest order, the whole Rainbow Orchid saga is a treat right to the nicely biting end.

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