Review: BURN THE ORPHANAGE: REIGN OF TERROR #1

BURN THE ORPHANAGE: REIGN OF TERROR #1
Written by Sina Grace and Daniel Freedman
Art by Sina Grace and Renee Keyes
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: May 7, 2014

BurnTheOrphanage_ROT_01_CoverThe last installment of the Burn The Orphanage saga, “Born To Lose,” had creators Sina Grace and Daniel Freedman unapologetically invoking stylings of the 80’s by shoving and hamfisting stereotypes and tropes of the that decade’s action movies and video games into a fun, three-part comic book series. This time around, Grace and Freedman move past the Double Dragon/Mortal Kombat/Enter The Dragon fantasy experience of the last series, and instead shift the 80’s vignette to a street level experience in a police state culture with giant robots.

Writers Daniel Freedman and Sina Grace temper themselves a bit this time around, being careful not to overwhelm new readers with an inordinate amount of 80’s pop culture and invocation too fast. Unfortunately, existing fans of the series have come to expect and appreciate this characteristic of the series and the slow unveiling of the plot feels debilitating to much of what one might have had them salivating for this new issue into the Burn The Orphanage world. Freedman and Grace this time around take time to develop the supporting cast around the main protagonist Rock. Jess, Bear, and Lex return to join Rock as well as a handful of new cast members to join their newfound rebellion against the evil, big brother corporation called Manncorp with potential for betrayal and uneasy alliances to be formed.

Sina Grace’s art has matured since last series and assuredly exhibits a more confident and consistent style that gives the comic book a great polish and display of control, while still undeniably still being his own. Colorist Renee Keyes exhibits that same amount of control and maintains the tone and intention that Sina Grace set before him. While backgrounds are never intended to be the scene stealer, there were far too many panels that lacked any detail or background at all to give any authentic credibility to the world building in this first issue, and that lack of attention might negatively influence the amount of investment they should have in this world, if the comic doesn’t even deem them as important.

In spite of all the cosmetics and facetious nitpicks for Burn The Orphanage, it assuredly has its heart in the right place and definitely stays true to the core of what this series has been all about: video game, action style, fun. While this issue has some short-comings, Grace and Freedman should be admired for their persistence and bravery for attempting to bring credibility to an openly cheesy premise that tugs on the heart strings of the children of the 80’s like myself. So much so, that I’m more than willing to follow up on the potential of the story in the next issue.

The Verdict: 6.5/10

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