‘Orcs in Space’ Volume One: The Conskipper Review

Orcs in Space Volume Two is set to release on April 27th, 2022. To commemorate the release of the new collection, we here at Conskipper thought we’d take a look back at where it all began. Volume One collects the first four chapters of the story and serves as a solid introduction to our orc protagonists Gor, Mongtar, and Kravis, the lovable D.O.N.A. (their stolen ship’s navigation system), and the wild and unpredictable galaxy’s worth of trouble they’ve gotten themselves into! Featuring expressive illustrations by François Vigneault (Titan), bright colors by DJ Chavis, and consistently sharp writing by Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty), Rashad Gheith, Abed Gheith, and Mike Tanner, Orcs in Space is a funny and heartfelt story which never fails to surprise and engage the reader.

The team behind Orcs in Space (which also includes color flatting by Dave Pender, design by Sarah Rockwell, and editing by Amanda Meadows), are clearly familiar with the tropes and history of the science fiction genre, and it comes across in every new gag and in each new character and/or species we meet in the book. The titular orcs accidentally steal the Aarken spaceship from Starbleep officers, a super polite and understanding group of humans who throw off major Star Trek vibes. A bounty hunter with thick and sophisticated armor named Dash Blastoff intervenes, and by the time we get to the space rats, it feels like just about anything is possible in this story. The character designs are interesting and evoke the feel of classic science fiction, but they include unique twists which help better tell this irreverent story. D.O.N.A., who is “of the ship, not the ship itself,” sports a similar spherical look as HAL 9000 of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame, but her eye looks more like a human eyeball than HAL’s red digital lens. She also has little robotic arms and hands. Both of these elements of design allow for a cute and more humanlike spaceship entity that is personable and adaptable to the chaotic events of the story.

Speaking of chaotic events, the fast-paced erratic nature of the storytelling makes Orcs in Space a very fun and pleasurable quick read that’s worth going back and re-exploring after taking in all of the twists and turns that happen over the course of Volume One. Vigneault does a fantastic job of navigating the pacing of the story with his visual storytelling, and each new reveal comes as a complete surprise in the sequential artwork in the best ways possible. Every time a twist happens and each time the stakes ratchet up (SPACE RATS!!!), I couldn’t help but be surprised and sit there reading with a big dumb smile on my face!

In an animated story like this, the quality of the characters is paramount to whether a series is good or not. The orc trio who star in this story are the perfect blend of vulgar, impulsive, selfish, silly, dumb, and sometimes sweet, and they are a thrill to follow. It’s a pleasure to watch how their humanity sometimes reveals itself, even after we see them disemboweling, dismembering, and even eating parts of their foes. Their impact on D.O.N.A. is interesting and it begs the question how these barbarians manage to help her find her humanity better than all of the other, more sophisticated creatures who board her ship.

Oni Press collects this text in lovingly fashion. Presented in standard graphic novel size, the cover has a nice feel to it with glossy enhancement to both the logo and D.O.N.A.. The pages have a nice semigloss feel to them and they perfectly capture the sharp lines of the text, the beautiful artwork, and the striking colors. The book also includes all of the variant covers for the first four issues, creator bios, and a peek at François Vigneault’s designs for the series. These pages include some of his character and ship designs and some quotes where he explains his artistic process and approach to creating all of these elements of the book.

Volume One of Orcs in Space is fun, entertaining, humorous, and exciting. I’m looking forward to learning what happens next when Volume Two drops on April 27th! Stay tuned to Conskipper for complete coverage of Orcs in Space as soon as it breaks!

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