blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Black Orchid 1 (November 1988)

3499Black Orchid, conceptually, is a disconnect. That disconnect gets the reader to pay immediate attention. Neil Gaiman is doing a very “real life” superhero story. Sure, it’s a fantastical superhero story, but he makes Lex Luthor into a corporate villain. Bad guys kill superheroes; they don’t mess around.

But Gaiman’s got Dave McKean on the art. Although McKean’s a little too static for the talking scenes, he does this wondrous painted art. Orchid is magnificent to behold, whether McKean’s journeying through the subconscious or doing a blockbuster action scene. Really, the only awkward moments are the talking scenes. The people are fine, it’s when he’s trying to imply facial movement.

The series all hinges on Lex Luthor not tying up loose ends, which results in an abusive widower to hunt down his wife’s friend.

The titular Black Orchid barely plays a part this issue.

It’s an impressive–if problematic–comic.


One Thing Is Certain; writer, Neil Gaiman; painter, Dave McKean; letterer, Todd Klein; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

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